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"Becoming the Author of Your Own Story" by Robin R. Foster

Write with your audience in mind.

The following is a story map which is the most efficient way I have found to preserve oral history and family history and stories. Short stories with photos capture the interest of even the very young.

You can use the story map to write your personal history and the history of your ancestors.

The introduction

Family history as an introduction to your life story:

This is a great place to include something about your own family history.

1. What is your date of birth? 2. Where were you born? 3. What are the names of your parents and siblings? 4. Are you the oldest, the youngest, or middle child? 5. Where did your family come from? 6. What is unique or special about your background?

Childhood


This is a great place to tell any fun, interesting, or humorous stories about your childhood:


1. What was life like for you as a child?

2. Where did you live as a child?

3. Do you have any special childhood memories? What are they?

4. Did you ever get into mischief as a child?

5. Who were the important people in your life, as a child?

6. What interests and talents did you have early on?


School Days


Here you’ll want to include specific experiences for school years:


1. What was school like when you were younger?

2. What was your favorite subject?

3. What did you want to be when you grew up?

4. Are there any funny school-related stories to share?

5. Who were your favorite classmates?

6. What school(s) did you attend?


Interests and Hobbies


Here you may focusing on the hobbies or interests that you enjoy:


1. What interests do you have?

2. Did you collect anything?

3. What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

4. What responsibilities do you have at home or in the community?

5. What books do you the person like to read?

6. What did you enjoy doing in your younger years?


Young Adult Experiences


This is a great place to talk about experiences such as college, military service, religious service, sports, dating, etc. Really, anything interesting that happened in the young adult years:


1. When did you first leave home?

2. What goals did you pursue at this time?

3. How did you decide which path to pursue?

4. What were some of the challenges you faced?

5. What were some of the triumphs that you experienced?

6. How did you serve others at this time?


Young Adult Experiences


This is a great place to talk about experiences such as college, military service, religious service, sports, dating, etc. Really, anything interesting that happened in the young adult years:


1. When did you first leave home?

2. What goals did you pursue at this time?

3. How did you decide which path to pursue?

4. What were some of the challenges you faced?

5. What were some of the triumphs that you experienced?

6. How did you serve others at this time?


Friends and Family


Tell about any of the special people that shaped the person’s life:


1. When did you fall in love?

2. What was you courtship, engagement, and/or wedding like?

3. What was life like for you as a young couple?

4. When did you have children? (Give names and birth order of children.)

5. What do you like to do with your family?

6. What close friends do you have?


Friends and Family


Tell about any of the special people that shaped the person’s life:


1. When did you fall in love?

2. What was you courtship, engagement, and/or wedding like?

3. What was life like for you as a young couple?

4. When did you have children? (Give names and birth order of children.)

5. What do you like to do with your family?

6. What close friends do you have?


Homes, Careers, and Interests


Here you might emphasize the person’s career and personal achievements:


1. What special awards or recognition have you received?

2. What strengths have you shown in the home or workforce?

3. What special interests do you have as an adult?

4. What talents and skills did you acquire as an adult?

5. Did you ever change jobs?

6. What are your goals as an adult?


Holidays and Vacations


This is a great place to recall any memorable vacation or holiday stories and traditions:


1. Where is your favorite place to visit?

2. What is it like visiting your favorite place? How do you get there?

3. What holiday traditions carried over from your childhood?

4. Have you had any adventures as an adult?

5. If you doesn’t travel, do you have any dreams of traveling?

6. Have you had any special reunions with family or friends?


Family Life/Fond Memories


Here you might want to emphasize your important family accomplishments. Also, emphasize other important aspects of your life, such as nieces, nephews, pets, special friends, or co-workers:


1. What strengths do you have as a parent?

2. What do you enjoy most about being a parent, aunt, uncle, friend, etc.?

3. What do you enjoy doing with family and others?

4. What was life like while raising a family?

5. Is there a funny or special story that occurred during the your adult years?

6. What are your thoughts about being a grandparent?


Leaving a Legacy


This is an opportunity to share the important advice you have for your loved ones. Celebrate the lessons that were learned from your life by preserving them on this page:


1. What have you learned from your life experiences?

2. Is there any advice you have to give?

3. What special phrases do you say?

4. What advice do you have for his or her posterity?

5. What kind of legacy do you want to pass on?


I hope you can and will write your own story!

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