Since the beginning of time...
From generation to generation, stories have been handed down from family member to family member. It's how we know where we came from. It's how we feel connected to our past and confirmed in our future. We are who we are because of the people around us. Those who raised us; those who influenced us; those who inspired us.
Once upon a time, it used to be a very common thing to sit together and tell stories of the past. Brave adventures. Love in bloom. Pain of loss. Growing as a family and a culture.
In our fast times and internet culture, family time is often lost... or put off when the magical "when I have "more" time" fantasy comes to pass. But that rarely happens.
And sadly, the consequence of that is that our heritage... the stories of generations before us... never get told.
Instead of the family unit growing and changing together, children move out as soon as they can and elderly parents move into assisted living and life goes on.
We work. We play. We eat. We sleep. We repeat.
So many of the younger generation don't get to know the older generation. And that's sad. So many stories are lost. So much connection to our pasts are never uncovered. The bond between tomorrow and yesterday is broken.
There is not blame here; no judgement. Just a recognition for a gap that is only getting wider and wider. Until someone decides to stop it.
Along with kindness, compassion must run a close second. Compassion shows sympathy and empathy for those who may be less fortunate. Many of our elders fall into this category. Not all! I, myself hope to be one of the elders in my generation that keeps going till I fall over. But I don't know my future... there may come a time when I am at my children's mercy and they might feel an assisted living or nursing home is in my best interest. And thank goodness these facilities are available and most serve their clientele with great care. But... that doesn't count as family.
When a person gets to a "certain age" they recognize the need to pass on the stories of their childhood. They want to be heard. They want to be remembered. Don't we all?
Today's challenge is just that. Helping them pass on their story. And I promise you, both parties involved with benefit from this activity.
Interview your grandparents.
Or if that's not possible, interview your parents.
Ask them meaningful questions and as questions that might invoke a story. You will be amazed at the answers. Life, no matter when your parents or grandparents were born was SO DIFFERENT from the life we live today. In their youth, our present day was nothing more than an H.G. Wells novel. Who could have possibly known how much our world would change, advance... and decline.
Get curious. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Commit the stories to a written document.
This just may be the most important Kindness Challenge you participate in. Don't underestimate its value.
Enjoy your adventure into yesterdays.
(in no particular order...)
- What was your favorite game to play?
- What was your favorite movie?
- How much did X cost?
- How much was a gallon of gas?
- Did you get an allowance? Did you have a side-hustle?
- What did you spend your own money on?
- What did your elementary school rooms look like? What was an average day like?
- What do you remember about high school?
- What were school lunchrooms like? How much was a school lunch? What was your favorite? or LEAST favorite?
- Did you participate in any school sports? The theatre? The band? Other groups/clubs?
- How did you wear your hair?
- What did your parents do for work/employment?
- Did you live with your grandparents? What do you remember about them?
- What was your first job?
- How much did you earn per hour?
- What did you do with your money?
- When did you move out on your own?
- How old were you when you got your first boyfriend/girlfriend? Tell me about them.
- How old were you when you got married?
- What did you do for a living?
- Did you clip coupons?
- Did you eat leftovers?
- Did you go out to eat? If so, where was your favorite place?
- Did you go on vacations when you were young? Where? Did you have a favorite?
- What has been your favorite invention in your lifetime? (computers, microwave, VCR, CDs, indoor plumbing!, electric cars, big screen tv, MTV, cable television, Netflix, Home delivery, Air B&B, digital cameras, home printers, Kitchen Aid brand, washing machines/ dryers...)
- How did you know He/She was THE ONE?
- What is one of your most precious memories that you're willing to share?