Wonk. Bummy-wup. Giffis.
Do you understand any of these words? If so, then congratulations, you are a member of my family.
(If you’re not, FYI: the words mean milk, tuck in for bedtime, and breakfast, respectively.)
It was only when I got married that I realized how unique my family vocabulary is.
Almost daily, I would say something that would be met with a blank stare by my husband. So much so that I had to compile a “family dictionary” translating the distinct words, phrases, and inside jokes frequently referenced by my family.
All families have stories to tell—whether it’s about the origin of an odd word like “giffis,” or about how Grandpa survived a battle in WWII or Grandma battled cancer or Uncle Joe battled raccoons at a family campout.
If you identify, refine, and share stories about your family—triumphs and challenges, quirks and strengths—you can make your family happier and more resilient and close-knit.
Why Family Stories Matter
Your kids may yawn or even roll their eyes at dinnertime when you trot out the story of, say, how you met their mother.
Or they may not get enough of those tall tales and beg you to repeat them every chance they get.
Whatever their response, a growing body of research shows that teaching children about their family history yields just about every benefit a parent could wish for their kids: