There is power in hearing someone’s story. Stories help connect people because they provide a glimpse into one’s life. They offer perspective, build understanding, and can help change hearts.
Conversations are gifts. Yet sometimes in the busyness of everyday life, we do not take time to engage in meaningful discussions. This is especially true for some older people. Their younger loved ones don’t think about, or perhaps prioritize, asking them questions to better understand their personal history, yet alone, recording it.
This is why Embracing Aging was interested in hearing Carolyn Brady-Beeler’s insights during a recent online session titled, Lessons Learned from Stories Collected. Over 20 years ago, she interviewed the only remaining relative on one side of her family to capture the special traditions and stories. The experience inspired her to find a way to capture other families’ memories.
As we talked, two words kept resonating in my head – START RECORDING.
When I was a child, I often spent time with my grandparents. Some of my fondest memories are sitting on the front porch with my grandpa. He’d share stories with me from when he was a boy and sing to me his favorite childhood folk songs. My grandma and I often spent time together in the living room. She seated on her favorite chair, me sitting on the floor by her legs. We’d talk about fashion, cooking, and family. Spending time with my other set of grandparents was often around a kitchen table. We would enjoy a “set out of eats”, as my grandma called it, while hearing stories about everyday life.
Now, in my fifties, I wish I would have recorded those special moments in time. One, to have a tape of their voice, and two, to sharpen the clarity from memories of decades ago.
Like other first-time parents, we purchased a camcorder when our son was born, as we wanted to capture the major milestones of his growing up. Fortunately, some of the footage includes my grandparents who were still living at that time, but it’s not the meaningful conversations I wish the videos contained. And that’s also true for my parents. Of course, they are on the videos, but the videos don’t contain my parents sharing their own hopes, dreams, experiences, or traditions.
So, I’m making it a point to do better in 2021 because I don’t want to have any more regret. I will ask my loved ones of all ages to share their stories and I will use the tips Carolyn shared to help me do this.
To hear these tips, the inspiration that led to her business, Story Catchers, and the lessons she learned from a decade of stories collected, watch the video below.
Then, start recording!
- Ask an older loved one to share their story
- Reach out to a younger loved one to capture their hopes and dreams
- Record yourself to reveal a pivotal moment of your life
Make 2021 the year we ask meaningful questions and RECORD the responses of those we love.
Visit www.thestorycatchers.com for more about Carolyn.