One of the greatest gifts we can give others is to bear witness to their lives.
One of the most important and readily available ways we can bear witness is to evoke and listen to the stories people tell that reveal what it has been like for them to live their lives.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day that can serve as a prompt to honor and express our gratitude to those who came before us in our families and communities by inviting their storytelling.
To that end StoryCorp proposes that family members accept its invitation to “The Great Thanksgiving Listen” in which a StoryCorps app is used to record elders’ stories.
“The app helps users select questions and record and then upload interviews to the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress,” NPR noted in its report on the project.
My experience as a hospice volunteer videotaping the life stories of patients near the end of their lives revealed to me the power of such storytelling for both the patient and for family members.
Take a moment this weekend (and throughout the year) to ask the elders in your life to share a few of their stories.
Include the teachers or mentors who were important to you in your list of those you might interview.
I promise that you will cherish those conversations for years to come.