Information has a funny way of appearing just when I’m ready for it. In this case, in two ways.
#1. Two weeks ago, 80-year old columnist for the Springfield Republican, Betty Mc Cann, suggested that her readers take time to write/tell/video our stories. Keeping in mind that if we do not, many of our experiences in life, our excitements, our travails, our legacy, our perspectives, and our wisdom will die with us. Being one who wished I had asked my mother many more questions before she died, I clipped out the column. Although a good portion of the legacy documentation I consider to be important, resides in 3 self published books, perhaps there are other questions to answer.
#2. Then, one week ago, a blog to which I subscribe, offered up “Five ways to have a life that fully satisfies.” There were of course the usual suspects on the list, like having a network of friends, having goals, not making money the priority in your life. But one of the five surprised me: “Have a life story, and be sure to share it.” Bolstered by some research that stated that….children who know their family story do better in school, and that people who …are 10%
I call the arrival of these two missives the serendipity of just-in-time affirmation. Our community’s First Thursday Conversation and Connection meeting which I conduct, had already determined to focus on this related question: ” And how are we sharing our heritage with the generations that follow us?”
What an amazing meeting it was! One neighbor is writing a memoir for nieces and nephews. Given that 80-year old Aunt Connie worked in Africa for 30 years, the younger family members are starting to ask, “and what was your life?” She’s responding.
One family has been gathering data on family history for many years and have a monstrous data base which they update at their bi-annual reunion, drawing at least 200 people. Another 80-year old, had prepared her own book of history with pictures and text way back in 1984 as a gift to each of her 5 children. A real opus and labor of love on display.
It was truly wonderful to have had a chance to learn more about our neighbors and to be inspired by each of their efforts.
For most folks, nothing is more important than telling a part of their life story and having someone listen and care. For the elderly, I think it is a survival mechanism too often overlooked. Our meeting palpably filled that need and no one wanted to leave.
What is your story? What do your children/nieces/nephews know about their heritage and about yours. Who are your elders who might have stories to tell, and only need to be asked.
These days, technology rocks. I guarantee that someone in your family is interested enough to help you, or at least make it easier for you to accomplish this project in a way that would satisfy you.
And, at the same time, a project of this kind knocks off many of life’s other basic satisfiers: goals, friends, x, A win-win worth an investment of time, conversation by conversation.