A birthday is a great time to reflect on your life.
Well, I've written before about the importance of recording memories. I try to emphasize this with my students and with my family. There have been times when my "recorded history" has come in quite handy when someone tries to say, "You never..." or "I never got to..."
We are fortunate to have so many ways to record memories. There's everything from a basic journal, to blogs, videos, photos, and paper and digital scrapbooks. Although oral storytelling is still one of my favorite ways to pass on events from the past, a bit of supporting evidence, such as photos, video or a written document, certainly does help one's case when there's a dispute. Multiple points of view definitely help.
Make sure your students and your own children are keeping a record of their history. Work together as much as you can to make it real and accurate. For me, I only have one side of the story and a terrible memory of my own, so I can only imagine how things really happened. For fun, here's just one example...
"Comments on Maryann - at 2 1/2" - as recorded by my mom
She is still very stubborn. She always wants to do everything Carolann [my older sister] can do, but doesn't like me to show her. She cries that I only give her a "little bit" to eat. She eats half then cries that I gave her too much. She is very clumsy and enjoys being bad. She has an "eternal smile" as big as can be - even when she is getting yelled at. She climbs, touches and gets into everything. She doesn't like to be helped. She can't keep still a minute.
Rebuttal, by me :) - I was very smart and skilled and frustrated at being held back by the unfortunate circumstance of being born second. I was further frustrated by my parents' inability to appropriately portion my food, either giving me too little or too much. I tried to be pleasant even though I was constantly criticized. As soon as no one's looking, I'm outta here.
(Now the record is straight.)