Hugh Morrison
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Children’s and young people’s narratives
Life as ordinary
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This chapter examines the third overlapping narrative lens – that of missionary children. It picks up on the first of two interwoven narrative threads – ‘life as ordinary’. Interviewees referred to such things as family life, the home, language, food, mission personnel, recreation and schooling as key elements of their childhood memories. The chapter therefore highlights representative features of these domestic lives, giving prominence to ex-children’s oral memories and reflections, together with other published and non-published sources. Three main analytical emphases are domesticity, primary education and play. In so doing it uses oral history sources to discern how historical participants curate or make sense of their childhoods, while also considering such narratives as both culturally constructed and negotiated. The chapter argues that these experiences, while common across mission settings, differed according to things like the age of the child, family dynamics, parental disposition, cultural and political settings, decade and gender. It concludes by reflecting on the nature of memory and the role of emotional narratives in terms of their imprint on memory. Children’s narratives are primarily emotional narratives.

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