05 November 2012
Thanksgiving starts a month long celebration of family and family gatherings! And, with family gatherings comes an opportunity to share stories!
The Saturday Evening Post recently published Story Basics. This is a nice succinct piece about how you might make the most of the upcoming family celebrations.
What’s key is to prepare to make the most of these upcoming story telling opportunities! The tips about open-ended questions (and let me add, don’t ask yes/no questions – as those are often the answers you will get) are spot on! By the time I realized that I wasn’t asking my grandmother the “right” questions to get her talking, it was too late (dementia had set in).
Many who suffered hardships don’t necessarily want to talk about them and there are those who just think that “what is past is past” and of no interest to others remain silent.
Everyone has a story and a lot of the story isn’t in the “big” events or accomplishments of life and a lot of it is found in the everyday and mundane elements of our life. No story is too small! I cherish the small story of my mother peeling wall paper while in a restaurant as a toddler – learning that, unfortunately after her death, just helped me be reminded that she once was a child also!
And, I did find that when my children were doing family history projects for school or scouts or church, they were able to get a lot more out of their grandparents than I had ever been able to!
Do you have tips to share with those “new” at eliciting family stories from recalcitrant family members?
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