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Storytelling – A Great Way To Share Your Legacy

Storytelling – A Great Way To Share Your Legacy

By Richard Weijo

While certain values may be important to you, will they be to future generations?

How can we influence our heirs to at least consider them?

As an example, I anticipated my granddaughter Elsie would not be very interested in learning about the importance of saving and investing for the long term. So, how could I tell Elsie a story in a way that will communicate and resonate with her?

I decided to use old coins to both provide a history of ancestors and to educate future generations on the value of saving and investing for the long term. This included:

  • Consolidating all of these coins into one centralized coin collection. I organized and preserved some of the older coins for the future;
  • Creating a coin and currency history journal. I wrote an introduction describing its purpose: to share family history through the coins and to demonstrate the value of investing for the long term. Next, I wrote the history of the coins obtained from my father while he was in World War II. I continue to add additional history for the other coins and currency;
  • Adding new coins to represent birth dates for each family member. My first new coin was a certified 2012 Eagle silver dollar to recognize the addition of my granddaughter! My wife and I purchased a coin from Puerto Rico to recognize her birth there at an Air Force base hospital on the island. I added another coin to represent my birth date using a coin from the country where my ancestors originated. I plan to add birth-date coins for each family member. My great hope is that my granddaughter and her children will add coins for their children in the distant future; and
  • Purchasing penny coin collection books to start collecting the many pennies we have. I have put some of the coins in these books, but want to work with my granddaughter as she gets older to help fill up the coin books and tell her some stories at the same time.

Storytelling and memorabilia can be treasured tools to give life to family history and emphasize important values – in this case saving and investing for future generations.

We all should aim to be better storytellers….

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Richard O. Weijo, PhD, received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to receive his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Richard was also a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and his most recent corporate position was as a Manager of market research and Director of customer channels at Portland General Electric. Currently, he is a consultant and a writer. He adores his young granddaughter Elsie, whose birth inspired his book, Our Dreams For Our Children: Creating Legacies That Inspire Each New Generation To Achieve A Brighter Future.

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