This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.
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All week on NPR I've been listening to people like Steve Inskeep, Frank Deford & Renee Montagne interview the important people in their lives--asking them questions they've never had a chance to ask before.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
What are you most proud of?
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
What is your earliest memory?
How would you like to be remembered?
Friday will be the First Annual National Day of Listening, and the the hope is that the Friday after Thanksgiving will always be a Day of Listening. This project was started by StoryCorps, which is a part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress--whose mission is to preserve the stories of regular people.
Because in these tough times, listening to each other is the least expensive, most meaningful gift we can give one another. Listening is truly an Act of Love, and we really don't listen to each other enough.
Who Do I Interview?
Interview the angels in your life. It's nothing to be nervous about. Get some kind of recording device (I don't have one--but I plan to get one on Friday). Prepare. Look at the Listening Project site for question suggestions & plan what you are going to ask. The best questions to ask are the ones you really want to know the answer to! Questions of the heart, like what are the most important lessons of your life? How do you want to be remembered? Maybe pick a relative you've known all your life, but you don't really know well. You know what I mean!
This morning as I prepared for tomorrow's Thanksgiving Dinner, I listened WCPN's Sound of Ideas' piece on Taking Time to Listen--which was all about Friday's National Day of Listening. Host, Dan Moulthrop did a live interview with his dad, Robert. When Dan asked his dad, "What was the most meaningful experience of your life?", his dad answered,
"Watching the 3 of you (my 3 children) grow is the most miraculous experience of my life."
At that point, Dan had to end the "live interview". Both men were clearly moved to tears, and there was no way they could continue this "live broadcast".
So, Friday I'm buying a recorder of some sort. I can think of a number of important people in my life who I want to interview. But this year, I'm interviewing my Aunt Dorothy in Cedar Falls, Iowa. You see, my favorite Uncle Davy passed away on Saturday November 15, 2008, and Aunt Dorothy is the last remaining relative of my Dad's generation--there's so much I don't know about their early years. One thing I do know--my Dad's family loved to laugh, they loved to sit around the kitchen table talking & drinking coffee, and they rarely worried. Theirs was the generation that lived through the Great Depression & WWII. A true testament to happy-go-lucky.
Uncle Dave's Obit: David loved his wife, Dorothy, more than anything in life and was rarely separated from her in their 50 years of marriage. His wonderful sense of humor will be remembered by all who knew him as well as the inspiration he provided for countless young people to make sure they got an education.
Happy Thanksiving & Happy First Annual National Day of Listening!
A big thank you to David Isay, the Founder & President of StoryCorps!