Valuable Information on the Verge of Being Lost Forever
Every older person you meet or see has a wealth of information that can be useful to you or people you know. They most probably have experienced most, if not all, of the same challenges you have in life. They also may have experienced other challenges you have yet to encounter.
The Problem is You Probably Have Never Known it
They may never have said anything. They may have thought you were too busy or would not be interested in hearing about them. They may even have experienced a challenge which you are facing right now. They may have dealt with it in a way you never thought of. That way may not only have been the best for them but it also may be the best way for you.
Did you ever ask an older person about their lives and how it was growing up? What about their experiences as an adult? What led them to make the decisions they made?
The Impact of Changes in Their World on Them
Did you ever realize the major changes they have witnessed during their lifetimes and how these changes have impacted them? Here are some examples:
- Many may have been the first in their families to graduate from high school or college.
- Many were born before television was common in every home. The primary activity at night and on weekends was playing games or listening to the radio.
- Most probably the first phone their family had was a party line. That was where two or more families shared the same phone line. The cost was cheaper. They didn’t know who the other parties were that shared their lines.
- You couldn’t make a long-distance call by entering the numbers. You had to go through an operator.
- No one had any concept of a cell phone that you would be able to carry with you. The first mobile phones were big. The nickname for them was “brick.”.
- Their first cars had standard transmissions. (Automatic transmissions were not common.) Few had air conditioning. If they wanted to get cool on a hot day, they rolled the windows down and drove faster.
- Quality was not common in televisions or cars. Televisions had to be repaired regularly. If you bought a new car, you hoped it had few dents or other defects. Auto Dealers would tell you nothing could be done about them. You just had to take it.
- Space travel started during their lifetimes
- The first computers were huge monstrosities taking up whole floors. There was no such thing as personal computers, laptops or tablets.
- Texting, Facebook or twitter did not exist. The most common form of conversation was talking to another in person one to one.
Yes, every older person has a wealth of information. Just think about how valuable this can be for you if you got it from them.
Where is the Ideal Place to Start?
With your own parents and grandparents. Many of their experiences probably have had a major impact on you. It also may have contributed to you becoming the person you are today. Finding out about their lives may also help you understand the reasons why at times you act the way you do.
This information is too valuable for you not to know. How can you get this information? You can get it by sitting down with them and getting an oral history of their lives. The best way is to record what you learn from your parents or grandparents. If you don’t have a way to record it, just write it out.
To help you get an oral history, please go to this webpage. There you will learn how to go about getting this oral history. There even is a link to the questions you can ask your parents or grandparents to trigger their memories. That will help them tell you about their experiences.
Once you have that history, be sure to pass this down to your children and grandchildren. Know they will love to have your history too. It may not be right now. When they’re ready, expect them to ask you. If for some reason, they fail to ask you for your history, record it for them yourself.
Not only will your children and grandchildren find this information valuable, their children and all your future descendants will too.
If you’re a little nervous about talking to your parents or grandparents about an Oral History, you may want to start with someone not related to you. You may have an elderly neighbor or there may be an elderly person at church who has no family nearby to get their history. Talk to them about it. Ask if they would give it to you. Let them know you are sure their family will love it and you will make sure they get it. They will appreciate it.
Just Picture This
200 years from now, your descendants track their family back to now. They are able to know how life had changed during your, your parents and grandparents’ lifetimes. They see the experiences everyone has had and how they impacted their lives. They also understand the reasons they do some of the things they do.
They will be grateful that you started the tradition.