Thanksgiving Day was terrific for me, and I hope it was for you, too. Now it’s on to the holiday weekend. For many people that means A LOT of shopping, but it also means more time spent with family and friends. With that second part in mind, I want to do my little bit to promote a relatively new tradition … the National Day of Listening.
As with so many of the things I kick off conversations with, I heard about this on NPR as part of their terrific ongoing StoryCorps project. If you haven’t heard of it, you should take some time and listen to a few of the segments. StoryCorps creates friends and family members relaying the oral history of their lives and times, and each story is recorded in the Library of Congress (whether the story aired on the radio or not). I’ve been listening to it on a weekly basis for a few years now and it is one of my FAVORITE programs each week. (Not surprising, really, considering how much I like hearing and telling stories, myself.)
The National Day of Listening is an attempt to encourage that sort of sharing and dialog in EVERY family, not just the ones who happen to go to a StoryCorps recording booth. To get EVERYONE to sit down with the people who are important in their lives and just LISTEN to them tell their stories … and hopefully remember them so they can be passed down to future generations. We’ve become such a media-oriented society that we’re losing our OWN stories in favor of those prepared for us by various media outlets.
If you’re spending time with family or close friends this weekend, take some time to ASK about things you may never have heard of, details of lives or never-discussed goals and desires. Take time to find out more about your loved ones as PEOPLE with rich histories that you might never otherwise guess. If you can record those conversations, great … but that’s NOT really the point. The point is to listen.
Try it out. I think you’ll be SURPRISED by how much you learn … and ENJOY the process!