Monday, November 23, 2009

Ten questions to ask around the table on Thanksgiving.

From our newsletter.

I've gathered for you a few conversation starters:
  1. What are the most important lessons you've learned so far in your life?
  2. What was the greatest time of joy in your life? The greatest time of sadness?
  3. Who were your favorite relatives? Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you?
  4. What has been your favorite family tradition?
  5. What personality traits do you admire and how have you tried to develop those traits?
  6. What was the biggest turning point in your life? Looking back, how would you have dealt with it if you had known what you know now?
  7. What was your most embarrassing moment?
  8. What are you most proud of? Is there anything you have always wanted to do and haven't?
  9. How would you describe your sense of humor? What was your all-time favorite practical joke?
  10. What message would you like to leave your descendants? How would you like to be remembered?
One of my greatest regrets, is that when Kim's mother died and the family gathered together, I didn't have a tape recorder running as the everyone reminisced and told wonderful stories about their memories of her. Luckily, we do have other records that she left us. But I hope you will capture those great memories while people are remembering better than I did.

These questions actually work after Thanksgiving too. In fact, did you know that next Friday is actually a National Day of Listening in the US? There is a wonderful National Day of Listening website set up by StoryCorps that can give you further ideas, including a Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide and Question Generator. And there are great stories that people have submitted too. Or try the easy to use software Personal Historian, a full featured software designed to help you capture the wonderful stories in your family's history.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Tape recordings are a vital part of my family history treasures. We used to tease my mother because one year she bought a "book-sized" cassette recorder and she would turn it on and leave it running at Christmas and Thanksgiving. She also had the brilliant idea of interviewing my grandmother one day about her childhood and how she met my grandfather. It is one of my most cherished possessions. I have converted that tape to mp3 and CD rom now and have transcribed it on paper for my family. You can't underestimate the power of hearing those words from your ancestor's own mouth!