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A follow-up to the official magazine of Classy Living Society - the Classy Chronicles - Chronicles Too! is an online magazine which features amazing nonprofit organizations, awesome businesses and business owners, people doing great things in the community and more.
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Tell Your Story

Tell Your Story

The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Jack Kornfield

In many of my posts, I will talk about my mother.  Mommy passed away at 90 years of age in April 2017.  In the days following her death, I spoke with numerous relatives and friends who told me great stories about my mother, and to be honest, I came to know her a little better because of it.
As the years progressed from my childhood into my young adulthood, my mother shared stories about herself, some humorous, some shocking – but listening to the stories made me realize that my mother was human.  She had fears, she had flaws, she had victories, she had strengths.  Many of us grow up viewing our parents as superhuman and immortal (or at least that’s how I viewed my parents), and I think that notion is part of the explanation why it was so devastating to me when they each passed away.
I listened to an Oprah Masterclass podcast (if you haven’t listened to any of these, you really must!) – wherein she spoke with singer/actress Vanessa Williams.  Vanessa said she’s always been open and candid with her children about her past and told the type of stories about herself most people don’t tell their children.  Her philosophy is by sharing  her experiences and what she learned from them, her children will also learn from them and/or make better informed decisions.  She is also convinced that being candid with her children helped them to better understand her.
I wonder why many parents are not honest and open with their children in this way.  Will keeping it real tarnish the parent persona?  If a parent shares that they’ve smoked marijuana in the past, will it somehow prompt their children to do so as well?  Will ‘fessing up about their past damage their children?  Or is it because they believe it’s not their business to know?
Many of the things I learned about my mother after she passed away weren’t new, and some of them were told from the perspective of the storyteller.  But it made me realize that I hadn’t asked certain questions to learn more about my mother while she was alive – things that could’ve possibly given me more insight into what made her tick.  I discovered I knew a lot, but also knew so little…and regret now that I had taken advantage of the time I thought I had.
Weeks later in a totally separate Masterclass podcast – singer Stevie Nicks mentions a similar experience – after her mother passed away, she realized there were so many things she’d never discussed with her.  Why?  Because, she too,  thought she had time.
Talk to your parents.  Think about it; aren’t there things you are curious about that you’ve never asked?  Family history isn’t reserved solely to finding out who Grandma and Grandpa was, or digging back into the family tree and learning that your great-great-great grand was a slave or grew up in Ireland or was the king or queen of some distant land.  While these facts are important, it’s also important to know the “stories” behind who they are/were; these stories are genuine threads to the intricacy of your life and who you are.
Talk to your children.  Tell your story, or at least the many parts you feel comfortable telling.  But I dare say, the true lesson lies in the parts that you feel uncomfortable about telling; those are the stories they really need to hear.  Tell your story.  Because you really don’t have time
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Bettye Burney
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Bettye Burney

Wow, sis what a great read!! You brought out some awesome points on ….time. Many of us do consider time as a lasting forever favor we have and will think we have TIME!!!! I can say that being the eldest in my family of 3 sisters and 2 brothers, we’ve all often shared stories and asked questions of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Putting aside where they originated from was never an issue, but the sharing of their lives through stories instilled in us to share with our own children and grandchildren the importance of time. Our parents and grandparents… Read more »

Coretta O'Neal-Naylor
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Coretta O'Neal-Naylor

I love this article. I can honestly relate to the “you think you have time.” I lost my mom 2 weeks after my 14th birthday (about 34 years ago) and I remember thinking this isn’t how it was supposed to be. My mother was supposed to be be here forever to help and watch me grow into adulthood. I always imagined I’d grow up and be able to share my success with my Mom you know make her really proud of me. Had I known then what I know now I too would have asked more questions. I often reflect… Read more »

Karteua Saddler
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Karteua Saddler

That was an awesome read. I must say, my husband and I share too much of our life with our children. My dad passed away when I was 11 years old and the things I hear about his side of the family is so shocking to me. Secrets sure do come out when you are no longer on this earth.

Lorraine Campbell
Guest
Lorraine Campbell

This was so profound. I learned a lot about my parents after they both passed away. I wish that I had the insight to ask specific questions when they were alive. Don’t get me wrong- I love the stories from their friends and other family members but I believe the insight that I would have gained if I would’ve learned those same stories from them directly would have allowed for more conversations, understanding and bonding. It’s amazing how so often we take time for granted. Time to live, time to enjoy, and most importantly – time to get to know… Read more »

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