Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recording Family Stories: "Fine... I'll do it... someday!"

That's what one gentleman said to me at the end of my presentation on preserving family history and the need to do it NOW. I wasn't sure if he was being funny or sincere - so I confirmed my suspicions by raising my eyebrows, laughing and wagging my finger at him simultaneously.

"Some day?" I exclaimed. This after I had just spoken for 30 minutes on the need to seize the day by its horns!

"Oh. Well, yes, I mean someday soon," he beamed back to me, slightly nervous now.

A part of me wanted to sit him down and repeat everything I had just said to a larger audience. It wasn't about generating business because if it was, I wouldn't have devoted my talk to informing the general public on how they could create Video Biographies themselves - without having to rely on an outsider.

No. It was because I see it so often. Until someone falls ill, or ages overnight, or starts to lose their memory... or worse... until it's absolutely impossible to ignore the fact that we are not going to live forever, people rarely think much about leaving a legacy that is more interactive and meaningful than mere objects or money.

Yet what is it that we treasure the most? The memories. The stories. The sense of who a person was when he / she was still alive and in their prime. We treasure the opportunity to feel like we once knew them, even if they lived two generations ago. The chance to understand where our journey began and how we happen to be where we are today. It is the sense of continuity that we value - the sense of belonging and creation and nurturing.

Why then do we put it off for 'someday'? 'Later'? 'Soon'? 'Tomorrow'? All of which so easily become 'too late'.


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