Listening, recording family stories is a GREAT activity for the HOLIDAYS. Have you looked through family photo albums with an elder relative or sage?
Grab an elder, a photo album, and start listening, recording family stories and sharing life.
Sharing family stories is a priceless activity in life. It warms the heart and revives the brain. Mary wanted to know about her family. She arranged a visit to her Midwest mother, bringing a recorder. Sitting in the family home, she looked over the albums with mom, who she calls “Mambone,” asking about photos, places, people and events. She was listening, recording family stories as her mother spoke, and preparing a future gift.
Mary asked the kind of open-ended questions where her mother could fill in details, laughing at some portraits, telling stories, and guessing at photos where memories were far, far, far away. “Loving Mambone” is Mary’s compilation of her family history and stories. Mary asked me to help design a “CD wallet” to share with family members. Listening to these recordings with Mary was heart-warming for me.
What are Sages?
Sages are elders and people who accept their age and their life with joy. They have time and wisdom. Without fighting aging, sages are able to review their life, integrating both good and bad into a life narrative they can share. We “Youngers” can learn from them. Listening, recording family stories, gives a voice to someone’s important life.
Barbra Streisand sings, “People … people who love people … are the luckiest people in the world.” We are lucky to love people, too. Personal history can give you insight on how family members lived, loved, and created their lives. Remember that you are a product of many lives before you. You came from people who lived the best way they knew how. (Click here if you want words to “People,” Ms. Streisand’s song from “The Essential Barbra Streisand.)
Listening, Recording Sage Stories
Would you like to know more about your family history and make a sage feel valued? You can with some planning, time, and a patient “third ear” as you listen to your sage.
How to Listen and Gather Family Stories
- Get a digital recorder and practice using it (hahahahahah).
- Plan time with your elder; multiple visits are better than one long session.
- Gather photo albums, family mementos, and whatever articles you find to stimulate questions and your elder’s memory.
- Be patient, have a sense of humor, and be open to discovery.
- Listen to the recordings.
- Download to a computer to preserve recordings.
- Ask someone to transcribe a draft for you in file formats you can edit (i.e. Word, text files, etc.)
- Print in large type for elder eyes to enjoy.
- Share actual recordings with elder and family members (CD or Dropbox).
- Remember not to rush; choose a good time for elder.
Mary saved her recordings in iTunes and copied to four CDs for each of her siblings. She put it together in a CD wallet with a nice cover. These wallets have several extra pages and rings to add more pages. Each audio track of her conversation was briefly titled with fun names, like “Wrigley Gum Girl – WW2.” In this recording, Mary’s mother talked about how she would walk throughout the company and bring gum on a tray to people in the company. (Click here for fun history of the Wrigley company.) Mary intends to share her edited text and family photos on additional disks as future gifts.
As an observer of this process, I am pleased to have heard giggles and delight in Mambone’s sharing of her life stories. Mary laughed as she reflected on listening, recording family stories with her mother’s voice. She knows her mom will enjoy listening to herself and reliving fond memories.
Listening to family elders and recording family history brings generations together. Do you know what to ask? It’s good to have a list of questions to ask elder persons. Click here for a blog by Karl A. Pillemer on ” 7 Questions We Need to Ask Every Elder Person”.
In Apositiva’s NLP workshops we train people in how to use predicates to stay in rapport with other people. We listen through our senses and communicate through strategies we develop in our human experience. Elder people have years of experience. Listen and give them your polite attention, while they pull memories from years of storage to share with you.
Apositiva Holds Workshops on Listening
I hope this gives you an idea on one activity you can enjoy during the holidays with priceless time, listening to sages, and loving “Your Mambone.” Are you willing to advance your skills, so you can be a stronger listener? Contact Cat Wilson for upcoming “listening” workshops using NLP for coaching, counseling, and life. Call 503-525-0595.