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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Walk To Remember

Walking is one of the healthiest activities you can take up. Especially outdoor walking while taking deep breaths of fresh air and basking in the sunlight. Vitamin D from the sun does amazing things for the brain, body, and overall state-of-mind. Feeling down? Take a walk. Need to loosen up and think. Take a walk. While you're at it, get the whole family to join you. Make it something special. Something more than just a family stroll. The fact is every family should experience at least one walk to remember in their lifetime. This is not just any walk. It's a walk through the lives of one, two, or more generations of the family. It's called, The Walk of Your Life. 

The Walk of Your Life is about telling a story rich with details you can see, hear, touch and feel. Each story consists of a walk through a town, city, state or country with a map in hand While visiting specific locations marked on the map a written story is told about family members activity on location while walking from one spot to the other.

Too better understand the impact of such a walk I recommend following a family on such a journey. The movie is entitled "We bought a Zoo". A true story about a family that had a dire need to connect, so they did something rather odd. They bought a zoo. Learning to work together they found a way to mend their lives and recover by trying to find their place in this new life of their own choosing. Finally, the children of this young family are brought full circle as they walk through a restaurant and hear a touching story of how their father and mother met and fell in love. 

Guided Tour

The Walk of Your Life gives kids a fresh opportunity to connect or reconnect with family in a way they may never have imagined. It's an opportunity to merge the present with the past and explain how the relationship of their parents or grandparents came to be. It helps them draw closer to their family while hearing their story brought to life in a way they never before experienced.  It's like opening a book rich with family history, self-discovery, nostalgia, and felicity. 

The Walk of Your Life may be in the form of a guided tour of the places in town that touched the lives of the family in very special ways. Perhaps a walk that follows the weekly routine of the grandparents and parents in the family. 

Map The Course

Draw a map of all the spots you or your parents frequented. Next, locate the schools they attended. The one spot they met. Now locate fond places they liked to frequent and things they did while there. 

Draw lines connecting each spot together progressively as the relationship advances from acquaintance to friendship to companionship to partnership and commitment.

Tell The Story

Tell a story about a specific experience that occurred then and there. Stories that help define that moment in time. Recreate the atmosphere, sounds, smells, activities, feelings and nostalgia of the times spent there. Talk about how the relationship grew stronger, how and why feeling ran deeper and ascended to new levels.

On Location

Enter the store, parlor or office. Explain what took place there and how that experience defined the course their lives.  Perhaps it was a bookstore or mom and pop shop with the best pizza in town sizzling in the oven. Freshly baked sweet cakes and cookies that melt in your mouth.  A table in the corner of a diner where mom was asked out on the first date. A photo booth where dad and mom took their first silly photo together. A water fountain where mom and dad sat, talked and fell in love. The place they were wed. The first apartment they lived in. The window of a room in the house in which the children were conceived and so on. 

The Walk of Your Life can conclude with dinner at a family restaurant that may one day be a part of the map the kids will make when they take their children on the walk of their lives.

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