I discovered late in life the meaning behind the quote by Anthony Brandt, “While other things may change us, everything begins and ends with family”.

Too often we often get caught up managing our professional careers that we lose site of really important things. My journey of discovery led me to create OurStoriesAreUs.com – just in time.

Ten years ago I visited my parents while on a business trip. Both Mom and Dad had been retired for over 15 years, living off of social security and a Navy pension.  While both were mentally alert and financially comfortable, they shared with me that they felt like they were a burden on society and feeling guilty that they were no longer making a contribution.

Feeling that I was part of the problem, being too busy to visit very often and spend quality time, I felt a need to find a solution. That solution came in the form of a family website – a private website where Mom and Dad could record their stories and share their life experiences with us kids and future generations.

I realized quickly that this project had become one of the most important things I’ve done with my life – renewing Mom and Dad’s’ sense of purpose as they set about sharing their stories. The were engaged in a task of personal interest to them and felt uniquely qualified to do it. The felt they were creating something of value for future generations.

The most significant result in this project was the bonding effect that followed as a result of me helping them share their stories. That bonding effect lasted long after the project itself.

This experience was something I wanted to bring to other families, but drastic improvements needed to be made to the family website to make it more user friendly.  This effort has resulted in the creation of OurStoriesAreUs.com.


Ken Bredemeier
OurStoriesAreUs.com, Founder
Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.,
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212
Chicago, IL 60654