“You remember the time when…” So began my coffee conversation with my friend who was visiting from Paris during the holidays. It’s a phrase often repeated when people meet after a gap between encounters. Digging up old memories is a bonding experience and one, it turns out, that is good for us.
According to writer Frances Lefkowitz, studies have shown that young people “who knew more about their family history had higher levels of self-acceptance and lower levels of anxiety and that they planned for the future more.” (“The Root Of All Things,” by Frances Lefkowitz, Good Housekeeping, Dec. 2013, pg. 92) In fact, a branch of social science called narrative psychology has concluded that even if the event recalled was unfortunate, people who drew some lesson from the experience tended to be active in trying to make the world a better place. (Ibid pg. 88).
During the holidays, I received a greeting from a woman that included a vivid account of the flurry she caused by adding two new hens to her chicken coop. After enduring the clucking and scratching and ruffling of feathers, she sat down to consider how to re-establish order. Should she build a new coop? Add a rooster? Take the new chickens back to the store? In the end, she used her knowledge of human nature and added some extra lettuce to the feed, plus some exotic greeneries. An increase in creature comforts restored harmony.
I wrote back to the writer advising her to jot down these barnyard tales for her family as they were funny and filled with insights. Years from now, I could see her clan gathered round a holiday table and as a bright eyed little boy paused before his drumstick, I could hear him say, “Remember those funny chicken stories great-grandma used to tell?”
(Courtesy of www.parent24.com)