Today is the day to open wide your fancy dish cabinet. Find the dainty cups, silver napkin holders and soup terrines that hold stories about your ancestors. Dust them off, gather them on your table and get ready for an evening of storytelling.
Tell your kids about why your grandmother or mother or uncle’s heirlooms are special, what were their lives like, and from where did they come?
Every year for my birthday my mother gives me a few pieces of her mother’s silverware. I use them often and am always reminded of the two of them and the seven years during World War II that silverware spent deep in a hole in the backyard, hidden from harm. And I imagine the first dinner after the war, when it was dug up, polished and set at a peaceful table. Had these stories not been told to me, the silverware would just be cutlery and not a reminder of where I am from.
Emory University’s Sloan Center for the Study of Myth and Ritual has spent over a decade studying the impact of rituals and have concluded that passing on our family stories directly builds resiliency and self esteem in our children. And the best place to tell these stories is around the dinner table!
So light great grandma’s dusty old candelabra (no need to polish it first), stick a few daisies in your uncle’s martini shaker and tell your kids the funniest story about when grandpa…
If you don’t tell them, how will they tell their kids?