21+ Best Quotes About Passing On Your Family Stories

Here are a few of our favorite quotes about the importance of telling/passing on family stories (knowledge, wisdom, traditions, etc.). Enjoy!

“Harvest the meaning of life and pass it down to the next generation through stories.” (Joan Borysenko)

“It’s very important for seniors to re-tell their stories. It is important for families to be interested in and heed the stories. Much is lost if the younger generation doesn’t take the time to hear life stories.” (Dr. Wendy Scheinberg-Elliott)

“Some people in their lifetime share what’s important to them, and in doing so, they help others learn from their experience. Others keep their stories and wisdom to themselves, which can leave everyone guessing for decades to come.” (Suzanne Hammer)

“It turns out that sharing family stories with adult children and grandchildren is more than a pleasant pastime. Research has found that a strong narrative helps build strong family bonds. . .Passing down lessons and values through stories enhances a sense of well-being.” (Mary W. Quigley)

“Evidence suggests that the more children know about their family history, the less anxiety, less depression and higher self-esteem they exhibit.” (Natalie Merrill)

“Every family has a story that it tells itself, that it passes on to the children and grandchildren. The story grows over the years, mutates, some parts are sharpened, others dropped, and there is often debate about what really happened. But even with these different sides of the same story, there is still agreement that this is the family story. And in the absence of other narratives, it becomes the flagpole that the family hangs its identity from.” (A.M. Homes)

“The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.” (Bruce Feiler)

“Most parents know about the benefits of reading stories from books with their young children. Yet what most parents don’t know is that everyday family stories..confer many of the same benefits of reading–and even some *new ones.”  (Elaine Reese)  *see footnote

“Unlike stories from books, family stories are always free and completely portable. You don’t even need to have the lights on to share with your child a story about your day, about their day, about your childhood or their grandma’s.” (Elaine Reese)

“All families have stories to tell, regardless of their culture or their circumstances. Of course, not all of these stories are idyllic ones. Research shows that children and adolescents can learn a great deal from stories of life’s more difficult moments–as long as those stories are told in a way that is sensitive to the child’s level of understanding, and as long as something good is gleaned from the experience.” (Elaine Reese)

“The holidays are prime time for family storytelling. When you’re putting up the tree or having your holiday meal, share a story with your children about past holidays. Leave in the funny bits, the sad bits, the gory and smelly bits–kids can tell when a story has been sanitized for their protection. Then invite everyone else to tell a story too. Don’t forget the youngest and the oldest storytellers in the group. Their stories may not be as coherent, but they can be the truest, and the most revealing.” (Elaine Reese)

“Family stories can be told nearly anywhere. They cost us only our time, our memories, our creativity. They can inspire us, protect us, and bind us to others. So be generous with your stories, and be generous in your stories. Remember that your children may have them for a lifetime.” (Elaine Reese)

“In today’s transient society, with many children living far away from the communities where they grew up, family ties are weakening. Today, children don’t normally grow up knowing ‘Uncle Tim and Aunt Sarah’ very well at all. They may be doing well just to know that this uncle and aunt exist. As such, they likely don’t know that ‘Uncle Tim’ is an expert, self-taught carpenter or that ‘Aunt Sarah’ was a professional cheerleader in her younger years. With today’s families spread out over the country and the world, our sense of belonging is minimal and our heritages are suffering, too. That’s why it’s important for parents to tell family stories to their children.” (Kimberly Crosen Luckabaugh)

“There are so many parts to your family story. Your children need to know where you and your parents and grandparents grew up, what your childhood was like, interesting events you witnessed or participated in. They also need to know the spiritual stories—the ones about God’s teachings, provisions, blessings, answers to prayers, and His saving grace. As believers, you and your family have a story, and it’s invaluable.” (Kimberly Crosen Luckabaugh)

“Family stories casually chatted about at the dinner table, or regaled again and again at family gatherings can parallel great epics or notable short stories. The memorable stories of our lives and of others in our family take on special importance because they are true, even if everyone tells different versions of the same event. These tales are family heirlooms held in the heart not the hand. They are a gift to each generation that preserves them by remembering them and passing them on.” (Heather Forest)

“Sharing your family’s stories will give your descendants a glimpse into what your life and your family are like. You will also be grateful in the future when you have stories recorded to tell to your own children. You may not think your memories will fade, but you never know what you’ll forget if you don’t record it somewhere. And as you work on recording your family stories, you may even discover things you never knew before.” (Mindy Raye Friedman)

“The best loved stories are not from books or films, but those from our own families.” (Jane McGarvey)

“Talking to your children soberly about values like tenacity, courage or forgiveness can be less effective than telling a story about a person they know who lived through a real situation. In fact, hearing and telling family stories can strengthen our own character.”  (Jamie Yuenger)

If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are. Madeleine L’Engle

“Yes, it is up to us to pass on family stories—especially ones about God intervening in our lives and homes. And doing this does not need to be complicated. We can share family stories with our children and grandchildren while washing dishes together, taking a relaxing walk, or going on a drive.” (Mary May Larmoyeux)

“There is a growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence that is helping seniors capture their stories. While not a formally recognized therapy, it is a powerful medicine for the client, family and caregiver. Research shows that writing on or reminiscing about family history improves self-esteem, enhances feelings of control and mastery over life, and often results an a new or expanded vision of one’s life. For very advanced-age clients, the chance to tell their stories improves cognition, lessens depression, and improves behavioral functioning.” (Mike Brozda)

“Our children are an integral component of our stories as we are of theirs and, therefore, each child acts as the knighted messengers to carry their forebears’ stories into the future. To deprive our children of the narrative cells regarding the formation of the ozone layer that rims the atmosphere of our ancestors’ saga and parental determination of selfhood is to deny them of the sacred right to claim the sanctity of their heritage. Accordingly, all wrinkled brow natives are chargeable with the sacrosanct obligation of telling their kith and kin the memorable story of the scenic days they spent as children of nature splashing about in their naked innocence in the brook of infinite time and space. We must scrupulous document our family’s history as well as scrawl out our personal story.”  (Kilroy J. Oldster)

“The best loved stories are not from books or films, but those from our own families” Jane McGarvey

“This packrat has learned that what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we loved. In the end, it’s the family stories that are worth the storage.”
(Ellen Goodman)


* “Over the last 25 years, a small canon of research on family storytelling shows that when parents share more family stories with their children—especially when they tell those stories in a detailed and responsive way—their children benefit in a host of ways. For instance, experimental studies show that when parents learn to reminisce about everyday events with their preschool children in more detailed ways, their children tell richer, more complete narratives to other adults one to two years later compared to children whose parents didn’t learn the new reminiscing techniques. Children of the parents who learned new ways to reminisce also demonstrate better understanding of other people’s thoughts and emotions. These advanced narrative and emotional skills serve children well in the school years when reading complex material and learning to get along with others. In the preteen years, children whose families collaboratively discuss everyday events and family history more often have higher self-esteem and stronger self-concepts. And adolescents with a stronger knowledge of family history have more robust identities, better coping skills, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Family storytelling can help a child grow into a teen who feels connected to the important people in her life.” (Elaine Reese)