“My Life in Paragraphs”
Legacy Storytelling Courses and Retreats
When your story is told, will it be an interesting one?
Join me in this engaging retreat-like experience and discover your legacy stories, one paragraph at a time.
MY LIFE IN PARAGRAPHS is an engaging seven-step process for legacy storytelling. My program guides you in discovering and telling your most meaningful stories.
I show you step-by-step how to communicate the hard-won wisdom you’ve gained in your life. What’s more, you will expand your capacity to connect with others, and feel better known and understood by the people you hold close; all while making an impact on your future generations.
When you join in the “My Life in Paragraphs” process you will:
-Easily see the challenges you’ve overcome, the learning those challenges have offered, and how they have shaped who you are today.
-Have fun reflecting on the meaningful moments, people, and turning points you have encountered throughout your life.
-Gain clarity how your core values were formed and how those values influence decisions you have made in the past, and in the present.
-Increase your awareness of your own uniqueness, and also understand more fully how you have shown up for others, and who has shown up for you.
-Strengthen the ties that bind your closest relationships, while witnessing your experiences in a new way.
I give you tips on how to share these stories now, and how to pass them on for future generations. These are your stories, you choose how you would like to share them.
My method is geared toward those who may be reluctant writers, but who do (or would) enjoy telling and sharing their stories.
Come along on this meaningful journey! The gift of discovering your legacy stories benefits you, those in your life today, and your future generations.
What’s your story?
“My Life in Paragraphs” Card Deck
Provocative Story Prompts
This legacy story card deck is designed to accompany the “My LIfe in Paragraphs” course, and was created by me, April Bell. The cards may also serve as stand-alone prompts to spark stories that have brought meaning, learning, and purpoose to you life. Get your cards now.
“Through exploring our own sacred stories, we shape the foundations which hold up our future generations.”
Why Create a Strong Family Narrative?
Did you know, happiness research has proved that children who know their family narrative are happier and more resilient than children who don’t. The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: and that’s to develop a strong family narrative. I help people do this with my legacy storytelling courses.
Several years ago, the wife of Marshal Duke, an Emory University researcher, made an interesting observation. His wife Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, noticed something about her students. The one’s who knew about their families tended to do better when they faced challenges. Her husband was intrigued and along with a colleague, Robyn Fivush, they set out to test Sara’s hypothesis. The two researchers developed a measure called the “Do You Know Scale?” which asked children to answer 20 questions.
Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know of any illness or something really terrible that’s happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?
After asking four dozen families these questions and analyzing their answers along with the results of other psychological tests they had the children take, they reached an overwhelming conclusion.
The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. Their “Do You Know Scale?” turned out to be the best possible predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness. They were blown away.
And then the unexpected happened. Two moths after they completed their study, 9/11 occurred. As psychologists, they knew they had been given an opportunity; though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. They went back to reassess the children.
What they found was the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient; meaning they could moderate the effect of stress.
So why is this? Why does knowing about where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?
The answers have to do with the child’s sense of being part of a larger family.
And the most healthful family narrative they found was the one where the child knew about the ups and downs in their family. Not just the successes, but the setbacks, too: “We had an uncle who went to jail, we had a house that burned down, your father lost a job; but no matter what, we always stuck together.”
The researchers found that the children with the most self-confidence have what they called a strong “intergenerational self.” They knew they belong to something bigger than themselves.