Day 21 – Reflections on the 21 Day Family Connection Experiment

I did it! I have posted every day of the 21 Day Family Connection Experiment. As explained on their site “It started during the world-wide pandemic by a group of family historians. They collaborated and decided to measure the psychological benefits of increasing family connections during times of crisis, stress, or even personal struggles.” The sponsors of the experiment chose 21 days because research has shown that it takes three weeks – 21 days – for a behavior to become a habit. Too bad it only takes one day to break that habit!

It had been some time since I consistently posted to my blog. It is so easy to get distracted by the vagaries of daily life. Things like… oh, I don’t know… like a pandemic?? This challenge reminded me of what was important. Our families. Experiencing a pandemic, as we are now, also reminds one of what is important. Our families. We hope that when we are no longer here, they remember us.

Remember the Jim Croce song Photographs and Memories?

Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can’t be true
That’s all I’ve left of you

That’s why I do family history. That’s why I write. That’s why I share. After a person is gone all we have left are our memories. If we are lucky, there are pictures. If we are luckier still, someone may have written their memories.

I am lucky to be a part of a large blended family where people appreciate keeping the memories alive. What I enjoyed most about the past 21 days is hearing how much family members looked forward to each day’s post. I am thankful to the sponsors of this challenge who had the foresight to create a project which encourages me to connect every day with my family.

I’d like to share some reflections on the experiment, using my answers to a few of the questions from the Experiment’s Completion Survey.

I will try to keep posting. Although I’m not sure I will be as prolific as in the past 21 days!
I feel really good about some of the connections over the past three weeks. I especially love that I’ve gotten our youngest family members involved. (Of cours, they don’t even realize it!)
To be honest, I focused more on the living than the dead throughout this experiment. Which is a good thing because I actually know more about our dead ancestors than I do about my living relatives!
This is a very complicated issue. I think it’s extremely important to share not just the good, but the bad and the ugly. The hard lessons are the ones that help us build strength and resilence. It is important, particularly for young people, to learn that life is lived in cycles. That what seems insurmountable one day may be conquered the next. That being said, read the next comment.
I have shared some difficult stories. Hopefully, in a sensitive way that shows all sides of the story without vilifying the person. But, there are also stories I have not shared. Maybe I will, in time. The truth is the truth. But there needs to be a reason to tell the story. Timing is important as well as purpose. Weigh the benefits and the risks before you share.
I have my “down” days. We all do. But writing always builds me up. And there is nothing better than getting an email that says, “I look forward to reading your blog everyday!”

So, that’s it. Overall I am pleased with my experience over the past 21 days. I will try to be more consistent and at least post once a week in the future. One of the silver linings of “stay home – stay safe” is we (most of us, anyway) have more time available to connect. Let’s not stop!!

One thought on “Day 21 – Reflections on the 21 Day Family Connection Experiment

  1. Deb,

    Wonderful thoughts. I enjoyed your blogs. Thank you for sharing them with me. You have a terrific family.



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