Hungary: Life story competition

The “Mosolyvirág” (Smile Flower) Large Families Association in Debrecen decided in 2008 to start action in order to show on a widest possible scale such hidden eternal human values in families like family togetherness, love, and inspiring examples of these. To spread true human stories, family legends transmitted across generations with sometimes bitter, sometimes hilarious scenes. We advertised the competition in every forum available for our organization, calling for “life stories of parents, grandparents, grand-grandparents: put down what your parents, grandparents told you about their life and you found it interesting, instructive or even funny”. Since then the competition was announced every year, the National Association of Large Families and later also the Confederation of Family Associations in the Carpathian Basin forwarded the call through their own communication channels. Although we had received stories from beyond the borders of Hungary until that time too, that last step opened the doors widely to the Carpathian Basin and further. Proposals have arrived for instance from Germany, England, and even Australia. Every year the best works are edited in a volume.

For the third year now, the honorary patron of our volumes is László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, who shares his thoughts related to families in the foreword of the volumes. Suggested by our contributors, since 2012 we also have a new topic for the competition: “When you were little…/When I was little”. The idea behind this is that every family keeps stories of their children’s childhood; mothers and also fathers and grandparents who have spent intimate years at home with the children, are pleased to speak about their memories.

Since the beginning it is the same jury which selects the writings that are appear in the volumes. All these volumes can be found on our website. Last autumn we announced an illustration and reading competition from these stories in four age groups. The goal of this is that more people should read the life stories collected in these volumes. The whole competition gives an opportunity for children to improve their oral and written culture of expression and to locate themselves in the traditions of their family. Furthermore, we would like to raise and reward talents among our youth within and beyond the borders of our country…

Ildikó Filep Radnainé
President “Mosolyvirág” Large Families Association, Debrecen