We seem hardwired to both create stories and to tune in to those of others.
Everyone has a story to tell, a story about the people and events that shaped their lives, about what they have observed and experienced in their lifetimes.
Through our stories, we demonstrate that we have had a lifetime that mattered and become immortal as the events and lessons of our lives are handed down through the generations.
Unfortunately, we too often only realize the importance of such stories when our elders are no longer with us. To prevent such regrets:
- Listen for stories. They are often all around us, told on porches and in kitchens as we prepare food and share meals.
- Don't be shy about inviting elders to share stories, particularly those who tend to be quiet and introverted. They may decline, but it is better to have asked than to later regret not having tried.
- Whenever possible, record family stories on ever-present smart phones and tablets. The opportunity may not come again. Later, they can be transferred to computers and edited by tech-proficient family members. Even low-quality video and audio recordings are better than nothing.
Stories preserved in the voices of those who come before us are a priceless gift to future generations, a gift that we can offer by paying attention and preparing for the many opportunities that will inevitably present themselves.
This blog post was written by Dennis Sparks, Arbor Hospice volunteer. You may contact Dennis by commenting below or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.