A friend told me recently that she had received a book for Mother’s Day from her daughter that gives her a place to write down stories about her childhood and her children.

Children with a book

Children with a book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She planned to sit down and fill out every page.

Called “Mom, Tell Me Your Story: A Guided Journal,” the book is a series of questions with lined pages leaving room to write down the answers in the book.

The questions are organized in four categories:

  • Family framework
  • Milestones
  • Lessons Learned
  • Personal.

The family framework questions invite the reader to enter their parents’ and grandparents’ names, as well as the names of their brothers and sisters.

Even a single generation back, readers may not know all these names and it is likely their children do not.

I never knew my father’s mother’s name, for instance, or my mother’s father’s name until I got family history records because they both died when my parents were very young.

On the subject of names, readers are asked if they had a nickname growing up.

My mother picked my name, Carol, because she didn’t like nicknames and didn’t think anyone could make one up for this name.

I learned as an adult that, though some nicknames can be cruel, many are affectionate.

The closest I’ve come to one was my mother’s pet name for me, Carol Lou (short for Louise).

Part of the framework section includes questions about the reader’s childhood, favorite teachers, songs, and movies and whether they fought with their brothers and sisters.

The book next acts about milestones.

What was the first day of high school like?

My first day in seventh grade at our combined junior high and high school, I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone.

We had just moved from Iowa to Texas that summer. Everyone else in school at least had friends from elementary school.

That first day, a girl came up and introduced herself to me, Becky Phemister.

We were best friends for years.

A year or two later, I asked her why she had come up to talk to me.

“I was scared to go to such a big school. My Mom said to pick out someone who looked as scared as I felt and go talk to them. That was you.”

The book’s milestones include what you thought about:

  • when you prepared for prom (I didn’t go to prom)
  • what your first day of work was like (the woman who ate a bagged lunch with me in the conference room is still one of my best friends)
  • how you felt about moving into your first apartment (I was scared I was going to be a widow a year later when my husband was scheduled to go to Vietnam).

One of the best parts of this guided journal is questions about lessons the reader has learned that they want to pass on to their children.

  • What have they learned about being an adult that surprised them?
  • About marriage?
  • About mothers and their children?
  • About fathers and their children?

Finally, the book asks its readers to answer personal questions about their children that are hard to ask face-to-face.

  • How did you feel when you held your child for the first time?
  • Did you raise your children differently from the way you were raised?
  • What was your favorite part about watching your children grow up?
  • Do your children remind you of yourself growing up?
  • What would you like your children to remember about you?

And, finally, what advice would you give your children about raising a family?

A sweet book, designed to capture stories and start a conversation.

Click on the title to order a copy for your mother or yourself, to pass on your life’s lessons, from amazon, Mom, Tell Me Your Story: A Guided Journal.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers





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