Listen Up!

Imagine cousins curled up in pajamas in front of a fire, begging their grandfather for "One more story about when you were a kid, please!" Or a daughter asking her mother "What was I like as a baby?" while rolling out pie crusts together. Or a brother teasing his sister "Remember that funny-looking guy you dated in high school?"

Happy National Day of Listening

I hope you are all enjoying delicious leftovers from yesterday's Thanksgiving feast while playing cards or laughing or taking wintery walks or doing whatever your family likes to do together. While you are gathered together, take a moment to ask some questions and sit back to enjoy listening to some family stories. A few questions can get the ball rolling and you may learn some things you never knew about your family before.

David Isay, Macarthur Genius and founder of  StoryCorps also founded National Day of Listening, because "every life matters equally, every voice matters equally, every story matters equally." StoryCorps offers a great list of questions to kick off a conversation here.

I'll be using my iPhone to record some family interviews this weekend and I may upload the clips to YouTube to share with other family members. These conversations can happen naturally while cooking or eating or chatting over photo albums. A few quick  and easy tips on interviewing:

1. Sit together somewhere comfortable and quiet where you won't be disturbed.

2. Turn off cell phones.

3. Ask open ended questions that will get the conversation going, like "Tell me about your childhood." Or "Tell me about one of your most memorable holidays."

4. Listen. Nod. Use non-verbal cues to keep them talking.

5. Let the conversation flow naturally and ask follow-up questions to get more details you may be curious to learn.

6. Thank the person you and let them know what moved you or surprised you. Tell them know how much you appreciate listening to them.

7. Have fun! This doesn't have to be serious although it may bring up some emotional things. It may even be cathartic, but don't have any expectations. The idea is to honor someone by simply listening.

8. Just like Thanksgiving Day reminds us to be grateful throughout the year, the National Day of Listening reminds us to really listen, every day of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment