Today I’d like to pay tribute to two wonderful people who are very special to me. They have loved and supported me my entire life, and I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me. So to honor them both, here’s my take on why grandparents can be such great sources of stories and creative inspiration. Happy Birthday, Grandma and Grandpa! I love you both so much!

Why Grandparents Make the Best Storytellers

Grandpa and Grandma - Romeo and Juliet1) They literally have a lifetime of experience to share. A key ingredient to good storytelling is experience. That’s why when writers haven’t been through certain situations firsthand, they research accounts from people who have. Fortunately, some of us are lucky enough to have excellent sources right in our own families, and those are usually the people who have been through the most in life. Grandparents have decades of experience to share, and that adds up to a lifetime of interesting stories (to cite examples from my family, my maternal grandmother was a ballet dancer and my late paternal grandfather was a WWII veteran). You may have a goldmine of creative ideas among your own relatives, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?

2) They’re living witnesses to how quickly times change. “When I was your age” seems to be a favorite phrase of many elders, and while young people have a tendency to take it for granted, it’s definitely one of those sentence starters that shouldn’t be ignored. History has never changed at such an accelerated pace as it has in the last couple of centuries, to the point where there are references that only people who grew up in a specific decade will understand (I myself am one of the “’90s kids”). That’s why the longer someone has lived, the more they can testify to how quickly times change. So once in a while, stop and listen to what your grandparents have to say about how the world was when they were young. You’re bound to learn about realities you never even imagined!

3) Their stories come with valuable advice. The best stories are those with lessons that can be applied to real life, and grandparents are full of wisdom just waiting to be imparted. Even if they aren’t applicable to your writing, you’re still likely to find a good moral or two by which to live your life. On top of enlightening you about the past, your grandparents can also teach you how to make the most of your future!

4) They’re comfortable with their audience. Isn’t it wonderful when a storyteller is so close with their audience that there are no inhibitions when it comes to sharing a tale? This seems to happen most frequently among family members. Elders often seem eager to pass their knowledge on to younger generations, and anyone patient enough to listen will likely find that this makes for some pretty good storytelling. Grandchildren, remember: if nothing else, you can always appreciate the joy your grandparents feel when telling you their stories!

5) They tell their stories with love! If there’s one thing grandparents have plenty to give, it’s unconditional love! All the stories and wisdom they share with their grandchildren are told with good intentions; they want their loved ones to learn as much as possible about life and to succeed in the world. You should always respect your elders, but especially your grandparents. If they enjoy talking to you and spend hours telling you stories, it’s because they love you!

Are your grandparents still around? Do (or did) you enjoy listening to their stories? What have you learned from them?

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