Bridge the generation gap with a family history video

Most elder family members are great sources of family stories and family history, but have little interest or experience with video technology. Many younger family members know little family history but are aces when it comes to computers and video. What can bring them together? Try a family history video project.

There I was, at a local Rotary Club, in the middle of a talk about creating family history videos, when one of the older members, a fellow in his mid-seventies, piped up. “This digital stuff seems like a lot of bother to me,” he said. “There’s tape, there’s discs – I really don’t know what’s what. Technology keeps changing and I can’t be bothered transferring from one format to another. I’ve locked all my family films in a cabinet, along with a projector, and when a family historian wants to watch them, that’s where they’ll be.”

I congratulated him for safely storing his family films and I had to admit he had a point when it came to technology. Rapid advances in computer and video hardware and software have been dizzying and sometimes confusing. BUT, when the choice is between preserving a precious video record of your family stories and history or losing them for all time, I don’t think the fear of a little technology should be allowed to get in the way.

So what do you do if you view technology as a hindrance rather than a help?

Look for the nearest teenager or preteen. Grandkids, grandnieces and grandnephews grew up with this computer stuff. To them it’s second nature. Why not enlist their help in creating a family history video they’ll treasure in years to come (kids being kids, they might not see the value in it now – but when they get older, they will). So butter them up a bit. Play to their pride in their computer and video expertise. And if that doesn’t work, have their parents make them help you. Once you get some momentum going, a family history video project is sure to spark their interest and creativity. You may find them getting just as excited about it as you.

Of course, collaborating with a younger family member on a family history video is much more than just a means to an end. It provides a great bonding experience, a chance to share quality time, to laugh and learn together and to create something of which you’ll both be proud. You’ll end up with a living legacy your family will love and with wonderful new memories that will last a lifetime.

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