Tell Your Family Stories

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” Sue Monk Kidd

You are the keeper of some wonderful family stories and history. Funny, strange, tragic, inspiring things happened that only you know about. Share them in a few sentences with other family members. We are not talking about revealing secrets or skeletons, just good stories. If you do not share these stories, they will be lost forever.

Here are some clues to get you started. These are just prompts. Looking at old family photographs will also help. If it is possible, drive or walk through your old neighborhood.

Where and when were you born?

Were you named after someone?

Did anything significant happen the year you were born?

Take a memory walk through your grade school or high school.

What teacher was in each classroom?

Visualize going to church or synagogue.

Where did you sit?

Who was your religious leader?

What was a family dinner like?

What was your first car?

How did you get it?

Who was your first real boyfriend or girlfriend?

Did you ever play hooky from school?

Where did you hang out?

What was your first job?

Who broke your heart?

Did something funny happen at your wedding?

How much was your first allowance?

What did you buy with it?

Who was your childhood hero?

Does your house or neighborhood have a ghost?

The day after Thanksgiving is designated as a National Day of Listening by Storycorps. It is a day set aside to tell and record family stories. Sit down with family members and encourage them to share their stories with each other. You might need to break the ice by telling your story first. Research has shown that children who know their family stories both the successes and failures are better able to cope with life as adults than those who do not know their stories. Stories connect us to each other. They create a bond.

My new book, Our Father: Discovering Family (WipfandStock), is full of stories. For each one that I recorded in the book, there are three or four that I didn’t include. As you recall one story, the telling will lead you to remember others.  Relax and enjoy the experience.

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Thanks to Pat Eager and the Charleston County Library

We had a wonderful discussion based on my book, Our Father: Discovering Family, Thursday night. It was a small but involved group. I am grateful to Pat Eager and the Friends of the Charleston County Library for making this possible.

There is so much going on at the library and the staff keeps things moving. It is a beautiful building in a wonderful location. My thanks to those who were there. Of course the book is still available at Barnes and Noble,, or from me.

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Book Signing of Our Father

Please join me on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the main location of Charleston County Public Library for a discussion of Our Father: Discovering Family, and a signing afterward. I look forward to seeing you there at 6pm.

Mitch Carnell Library Signing

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Charleston County Library – Nov. 12 – Our Father: Discovering Family

Our Father - Discovering FamilyOn November 12 at 6p.m. I will discuss my book, Our Father: Discovering Family, at the main branch of the Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street. My book is best described as a spiritual autobiography. I learned a great deal about myself during the process of sifting through my life and distilling those events that played a role in my spiritual journey and my mission for the rest of my life. It was not an easy book to write.

Come with your questions. Let’s have a good discussion. I am a member of the West Ashley Writer’s Group. The event is free. Friends of the Library will have my book available for purchase.

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