“Tell me a story about Grandpa when he was a boy” said my 5 year old son at my father’s funeral.
To my dismay, I realized I COULDN’T. We never talked about his childhood … even the basics, like his favorite subject in school … or anything about his first job. And I sure didn’t know anything about his dreams growing up … what made him who he was. 😩
Even though my kids were alive when Dad passed away, they would grow up thinking they never knew Grandpa.
I looked through his photo albums … but all I saw were a bunch of people I mostly didn’t know or events I knew little about. I needed the stories behind the pictures — the context … the narrative.
But it was too late. All I had was some useful life learning.
I thought “The world could use a service where everyone, everywhere had a way to easily create, share and preserve their stories … stories they could revisit themselves … and stories that keep their memory alive after they’re gone.”
More than just pictures or video, we need the stories — sometimes short, sometimes long. Sometimes just fun, sometimes thoughtful.
Writing wasn’t the solution. Few people start … and even fewer continue. It just takes too darn long. And it’s hard to stay motivated!
Social media wasn’t the solution — that tends to be a river rushing by of happy faces and highlight reel moments. And it was way too public. I hungered for something more authentic … more intimate.
And something better than just emailed or texted pictures/video that I’ll never find again.
And it had to be easy 😀
I wanted the following:
EASY AND VISUAL: Really easy to create and view stories — even for Grandpa — with each story made up of any combination of pictures, video, text and audio.
PRIVATE: Tight control over who sees what — the ability to choose to share every story differently, each one just with the people who will care about that story.
COLLABORATION: Most of the time, it’s not just about me. I often want to let people add content to the story as collaborators — like my wife when we’re on a trip. We both take tons of pix/video!
A CURATED COLLECTION: Not an everyday diary — that was too much work. And not just a few precious moments — they’re only a small part of life’s journey. And especially not a repository for every picture and video I ever take (I admit I’ll probably never organize them!).
I wanted a collection of many life stories and experiences that would be easy to find, relive, share (or not) … some that might be memoir-worthy and others that are just things I want to remember with friends (like that great restaurant we went to!).
There was nothing out there with this combination of important features. So we created LifeTales. And one of the features we’re excited about launching in 2019 is Grandparent’s Story — a service specifically tuned to helping you capture and preserve your parents’ stories … so your kids (and their kids!) will know who your parents really were.
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Great song by Rod Stewart … but only partly right. Every Picture may tell “A” Story, but it sure doesn’t tell “The” story! His song could never have been interpreted from pictures. You would have missed the the most important parts … feelings, behaviour … the intangibles!
Closer to home, have you ever tried to piece together a story from pictures — either combing through a deceased parent or grandparent’s collection … or even looking back in 10–20 years at pictures of your own kids?
Can’t be done for your parents who are no longer with you. Who ARE those people Dad’s with? I wonder what they’re doing here? And that’s just the “What’s happening” part. Nothing about feelings, excitement, plans … the important stuff of life. At best, you can decide whether you like a picture. Pretty thin gruel.
Today, people take millions of pictures and videos — and they’re excited by the legacy they’ll leave their kids (if they can ever wade through them). However, the pictures are usually in deep storage on their phone or computer, or in multiple social media sites, posted as happy faces with emojis and clever captions. Fun in the moment — but not much in the way of everlasting value that grows in time as it ages.
Even putting aside the lack of organization, they’re missing the intangibles: behavior, emotions — the context.
Will your kids be able to recall the stories of their own youth when they look back at the pictures? They might like a picture. But will they know how Mom felt? How they behaved? What Dad said later? Or even cooler, will they be able to look back on themselves someday with a different perspective, now as a parent of a young child themselves?
As parents, we remember the highlights years later (well, maybe for your first one or two children 😉. So if we’re still around, we can regale them with some context.
However, there’s really no replacement for the narrative, the commentary, as it happened. As told by Mom of 20 years ago … and 15 years ago … and 10 years ago. And by Dad back when he had hair. And Grandpa when he was alive. Maybe by a Caregiver … or a favorite teacher way back in Grade 2!
That’s why journals and diaries exist … and are often magical, especially when it’s about you!
But who the heck has time for that? Typing is slow and life’s usually crazy busy.
That’s why LifeTales Child Journals was created. It’s a way to create this amazing story, bit by bit, and eventually create an epic!