Monday, September 7, 2009

Honor your grandparents by gathering their stories

As we all know, holidays and special days are often promoted for commercial purposes, but I guess if it helps us remember something we might otherwise overlook or take for granted, that's a good thing. One such special day, Grandparent's Day, is coming up on September 13. And while this day has not caught on in the same way as Mother's Day or Father's Day, it could be a good day for gathering grandparent stories (pass the word).

An article this week on, "Tweens: 5 Ways to Celebrate Grandparent's Day," cites the following statistics: "4 million children in 3 million homes are being raised by their grandparents. More than 5 million children live in a household with a grandparent present." But interviewing a grandparent is a good idea, whether they live in the home or not. The article itself is a little commercial, but it does offer some good ideas for children to connect with grandparents, and provides a link to downloadable book -- a   template children can use to gather a grandparent's life story. In addition to interviewing a grandparent and writing their life story, sitting together with grandparents and going through old photographs can be a unforgettable experience: photos are excellent memory triggers, and if you write down the stories as you go, or even better yet, record the activity and then write it down, you will ensure it's being "unforgettable" (and don't forget to back it up!).

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Monday, October 13, 2008

DAR chapter encourages children to value heritage

According to an article on, "Local DAR chapter promotes education for democracy," members of the Indiana-based, Joseph Galloway-Nathaniel Prentice Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) have the right idea for helping kids appreciate their heritage. As part of their opening session, August 16, Regent Cathy Maxon reported on her Kid City activity, highlighting how she engaged local children in learning to value their family history. As one member noted, even children who’ve experienced divorce and remarriage can find a greater sense of identity through their own process of genealogy research. Besides encouraging family story-telling and DAR membership, the local chapter hopes to encourage education.

DAR member Elizabeth Greer of Rocky Mount, Va., recently lamented over the lack of basic knowledge of geography and history evident in today’s children and adults. She had conducted a “pop quiz” with over 200 people, aged 18 to 40. Only two individuals could accurately locate all the following cities on a map: Washington D.C., Richmond, Va., New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago. They couldn’t even find the Mississippi River. Seventeen out of 20 didn’t know who John F. Kennedy was. The schools and the culture have let them down, she said.

“Patriotism requires knowledge of history, people, places and events,” Greer added. The Galloway-Prentice chapter hopes to develop educational programs similar to the Kid City project for use in area schools, libraries, scouting and church groups. It's a program worth emulating.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tis the Season . . .

Melissa Slate in her article, "The Ancestor's Christmas,"reminds us that our "Christmas traditions and celebrations are varied and diverse with roots in many nationalities." This time of year many faiths, Christian and non-Christian alike celebrate special observances with a rich history, dating back many generations. Reflecting on our heritage may help us take less for granted in busy rush of the season.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Louisiana Creole Cultural Conference, Set 22

A Times-Picayune article on, "Conference on Creole culture starts Sept. 22," announces the Louisiana Creole Research Association, two-day conference, Sept. 22 and 23, with the theme "Louisiana Creoles of Color: Inspiration, Admiration and Race Relations" at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. For information about the conference or LA Creole, go to

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oklahoma Centennial - Celebrating 100 Years of Statehood

Oklahoma celebrates its 100th anniversary of statehood on November 16, 2007, and all across the 46th state, communities and organizations in preparation. According to the state's Centennial web site, many are creating monuments, fountains, parks or cultural facilities that reflect local or state history, while others are restoring historical sites and structures. Most are planning special commemorations or are enhancing traditional festivals and annual events.

Libraries, museums, historical societies, cultural venues and schools are also preparing for 2007. And Oklahoma's rich and diverse heritage will be highlighted with American Indian, African American, Latino, Asian American and European American customs, traditions and artifacts on display throughout the year. While festivities have been underway all year, it's not too late to join in the celebration.

The Centennial year kicks off November 9-19, 2006 in Tulsa with concerts, expos, exhibits, a parade and eye-popping fireworks and laser displays. Then the Macy's 2006 Thanksgiving Day Parade will provide a preview of things to come when the Centennial float, Oklahoma Rising, makes its way (loaded with Oklahoma celebrities) down New York City's famed Broadway Avenue. Oklahoma rings in the New Year as the state leads the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2007, and marches onto television screens around the world with two magnificent floats.

Oklahomans and visitors to the state will traverse Oklahoma in 2007 as hundreds of towns and cities offer up Centennial celebrations, commemorations and dedications. Two major events in 2007 will encourage both Oklahomans and visitors to gather to celebrate Oklahoma history and heritage: The Centennial Expo, September 13-23; and the Centennial Parade on October 14, 2007.

Statehood Day, November 16, 2007, will begin with historical reenactments in Guthrie, the state's first capitol. Activities will include the presidential proclamation of statehood, the inauguration of the first state governor, the ceremonial wedding between the two territories, and an inaugural parade. The day will conclude with festivities in the capitol city, Oklahoma City, including The Spectacular, which will feature live entertainment by internationally recognized Oklahoma performers. To learn more and see a calendar of events, visit the Oklahoma Centennial web site.

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