Thursday, January 16, 2014

Instilling bravery

How would you instill bravery and strength in boys when the current culture seems to work against these traits?

My husband and I—oldsters—received an invitation to lead a parenting class Sunday evening. We had handed out paper and asked parents to submit questions for us.

All questions were good but the one above caught my attention. (If you’re a regular here, you knew it would, didn’t you?) The question just begged me to tell what memoir is all about, and I didn’t let the opportunity slip away. (You knew I wouldn’t, right?)

After a brief explanation of what memoir is, I asked the audience:

Who inspired bravery in you? What’s the bravest act you ever witnessed?

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Write your story and give it to your kids.

Who taught you the importance of being strong? Who modeled for you how to be strong when it was mighty tempting to be weak? Write those stories and give them to your kids.

Think about this, too: Stories of failures can pack a lot of punch.

With that in mind, what’s the most un-brave act you’ve seen? The most cowardly action you’ve taken?

What is the most un-strong deed you’ve witnessed in others? When did you give in to weakness?

Have you ever pinned down, specifically, the values and traits and strengths you want your kids and grandkids to possess? If not, start today: Compile a list.

How about some of these for a start?

a sense of humor
self discipline

Don’t wait another day! Begin making your list.

In coming days and weeks, beside each trait, jot down a few words to remind you of a story demonstrating that trait.

Then sit down at your computer, or get out pen and paper, and start writing rough drafts of those stories.

Can you write one story a month? If so, you will have twelve stories a year from now!

Stories have a bigger impact than statistics,
a lecture, a chart, a meeting,
an article, or intellectual reasoning.
And nagging.

You have stories that only you can tell.
Your children and grandchildren
and great grandchildren need your stories.

Look for photos to accompany those stories—either your own or from the Internet. Photos can help in a couple of ways.

First, they’ll help you remember details, settings, sights, sounds, tastes, feelings, smells. They’ll help you remember songs of the era, clothing styles, hair styles, and historical settings. Use such details to draw readers right into your experience.

Second, photos add a depth of understanding and experience to your kids and grands when they read your story. According to an ad at, approximately 83% of human understanding happens visually, and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text—so dig out those old photos. They’ll involve readers in your story and help them remember it.

“Our stories aren’t just part of a timeline.
They are part of human legacy.
They are the things that connect generations.
They connect geography, they connect culture,
they connect ethnicity and race.”
Jacqui Banaszynski,
Touching Hearts One Story at a Time”

Related posts:


  1. Linda, these were fortunate and lucky parents in your class. You did a great job of teaching them two things in parallel -- parenting and using their stories to do so! Kudos to you on doing what I knew you would do. :)

    1. Sherrey, thanks for your kind words. I hope our readers here will check out your blog, Found Between the Covers. It's the kind of place all of us bookish people love to hang out!