Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

After we blogged last month about improving communications with your loved ones, we received a special email from one of our readers, Patrika Vaughn. She has created a tool that can lead to new ways of Sandwiched Boomers talking with family members - an audio book giving you a step-by-step guide to writing your own family history. She has found that writing about past events with your loved ones can give a new perspective on events that may have hardened attitudes between family members. If you would like to learn more about her CDs and tapes of "How to Write Your Own Life Story," log on to

Here's what Patrika tells us in the Sandwiched Generation about writing your family history and keeping it alive:

"Digging into your family's past and writing about the people and events you discover can be a fascinating endeavor. A family history also helps give a sense of belonging to children and grandchildren, a feeling of continuity between the generations.

I've also found in my family genealogy interesting people who act as a springboard for novels and non-fiction books. What began as simple compilation of information for future generations, became the spark for stories to share with others.

My research and writing began when my mother, at 91, asked me to take on the project of writing her memoirs. I'd heard some of the stories of her younger life, but had forgotten many and never knew about others. I soon learned she had nearly a century of living to relate, and I discovered I was learning the history of a remarkable woman."

Patrika found that she began to understand her family better as she learned more and more about them.

"When you begin to search your family history, you'll get to know your parents and grandparents in a different way. You'll see them, through their recollections and the memories of others, as they were while growing up, struggling to provide a living for a young family, and contributing to their community to make a better life for others.

My great grandmother was one of these. I discovered that she, wife of a judge and mother of seven, living in war-torn Hungary, elected to follow her first-born son to the United States — bring with her the rest of her children, which included my grandmother.

Until then, my great grandmother was merely a picture in a photo album; now she has become for me a courageous intriguing woman, a woman who could inspire others if her story were told."

Tomorrow, we will look at how Patrika's audio book helps you get started as you begin your family history.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my grandfather telling me about accompanying his own father on his dad's first trip back to see the Statue of Liberty after many years. My great grandfather had first sailed past it as a fifteen year old boy, coming to America alone. My grandfather began crying as he was relating the story. Sharing this experience with me opened up a whole new way of understanding my grandfather and getting to know more about my great grandfather.Zoe

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Patrika Vaughn said...

An amazing shift in perspective arrives once we begin to see our parents as people, rather than as "Mom" and "Dad." When we can experience them as people, a new empathy and appreciation develops which enriches our own lives. And, of course, it also allows us to let go of resentments we may have because they failed to be perfect parents - thus allowing us to forgive ourselves for any less-than-perfect parenting we may have done.

6:19 AM  

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