Stories help carry on family traditions and teach the value of remembering the past. Storytelling allows family members to develop vivid images of events, even if they were not personally present. Stories that include a child or family member’s journey of faith can provide examples of how everyone’s relationship with Christ can be ever-growing and lifelong.

Baptism Stories

Children who were baptized as infants or at a very young age will have no recollection of the Sacramental event. Parents, grandparents, godparents, and even older siblings can share details about the very special day with the younger child. Who was there, how and why were the godparents chosen, what did the child wear, and how significant was the day for the family?

How Mom and Dad Met

The story can include how Mom and Dad met, got to know each other, and fell in love. Teenagers may be a little squeamish about some of the details, but younger children would likely be all ears. This love story can be a great opportunity to talk about self-giving, mutual respect, and God’s role in loving relationships.

The Big Day

The story continues for Mom and Dad. How did the grandparents meet? What did marriage preparation look like? What was involved in planning the wedding? Why is it important to get married in the Church? Nothing goes as planned; what unexpected event occurred on the “big day?” There were also unexpected events at the Wedding at Cana, as told in the Gospels.

Holidays and Celebrations

Stories tell us about what it was like growing up in previous generations, including how holidays were celebrated, which religious traditions were passed down, and the values that were important to the family. Whether traditions are based on ethnicity, different cultures, or simply a family custom, rich stories can likely be told to help the children appreciate their family culture.

Trials and Tribulations

Stories can be about family trials and tribulations and faith’s role in perseverance and finding hope. When there are setbacks in life, our relationships can be a meaningful source of stability and guidance; this is especially the case with Jesus Christ. Telling your children about your faith and encounters with Christ when you needed him the most can be powerful.

Our Family Traditions

Family traditions provide a sense of continuity and belonging. Traditions in holidays, birthdays, celebrations, family gatherings, and even weekly or monthly routines can convey what is central to the family’s identity and beliefs. Family traditions can also influence the transmission of the Catholic faith from one generation to the next. Behind every family tradition, there is a story about its origin, its purpose, and how it has evolved over the years. Sharing these stories can strengthen these traditions.

Moral Lessons

Parents can help their children develop a moral compass based on integrity and virtue by sharing stories of what it was like when they grew up, the types of moral dilemmas they faced, and how others, along with their faith, provided guidance. It is OK to be honest and admit when missteps were made, how we learn from our mistakes, and the role of reconciliation and forgiveness. Storytelling can create an environment where children feel comfortable discussing moral questions and seeking guidance.

Our Family Story / Where We Came From

The New Testament provides genealogies of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38) that trace Jesus’ lineage back to King David and ultimately to Abraham. The family tree connects your family to previous generations and provides a sense of identity and belonging. Knowing your ‘family story’ can help your children appreciate their heritage and cultural background. Stories can be told about the sacrifices, traditions, and values that have been passed down through generations. Acts of faith and courage from earlier family members can be a source of inspiration.

Favorite Childhood Memories

Parents and grandparents telling stories of their favorite memories can foster connections, deepen understanding, and instill values about the simple pleasures of life. The topics can include fond memories of family vacations, carefree moments of play and adventures, or meeting a best friend for the first time. Children can learn that joy can be found in a favorite book, a beloved toy, a family pet, or spending time with a grandparent or loved one. Through these stories, children learn about relating to others and expressing themselves.

The Day You Were Born

The story can start when the parents learned of the pregnancy, who they told first, and then the build-up, planning, and preparations right up to the big day. What the trip to the hospital was like, along with moments of anxiety, prayers, and joy, are great to share, in addition to family and friends who came to visit, as well as the first reactions of any siblings. Parents can relate the love they have for their child to the love that God has for all people, as a valuable creation made in the image and likeness of God.

The Story Behind Your Name

The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means “Yahweh saves” or “God saves.” This name was given to Jesus by the angel Gabriel, as instructed by God. Emmanuel is a Hebrew name that means “God is with us.” It is a title given to Jesus in the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14). What does your name and your children’s names mean? Names matter and any special meaning or purpose behind a name can be shared with your children.

What If Stories

Engaging in pretend storytelling with children can be a fun and innovative way to bond and spend time together while fostering their imagination and creativity. Make-believe or What if… stories allow children to explore different scenarios while using their minds to develop problem-solving skills, empathy, and moral values. Parents can guide their children in creating imaginative stories that align with positive values and respect for others to teach and reinforce important life lessons.