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National day of listening

By bzellie 01 Dec 2020

On the fourth Friday in November, one day after Thanksgiving in the US, was the unofficial Day of Listening. The day encourages people to take time over the holiday period, not just to listen but to also to sit and talk to family and friends and record the stories they would like to share. But it doesn’t have to just take place in America. Most of our family history is passed on through anecdotes and conversations, and often these stories can be forgotten or lost between generations. 

Beyond having a family keepsake, recording the interviews shows people that they are important and also signifies that they always will be. The founder of the day has suggested that the best stories revolve around “the great themes human existence: birth, death and love.

a person on a video call to their grandparents

Day of Listening encourages these stories to be recorded as a family keepsake for current and future generations, and even being away from home it has never been easier to tape a story from a family member or friend! With Zoom, Teams, Skype, or any other platform, you can have a chat and not even be aware that it’s being recorded.

Tips from the founder of the day of listening in getting started are:

1. Choose someone who has been “an angel in your life”

2. Invite them to have a conversation and explain what and why you’re doing it. (Don’t forget to ask if they are happy to be recorded with audio and/or video!)

3. During the conversation, either in person or online, ask them open-ended questions about what you’ve always wanted to know about your family history. Some questions you could discuss include:

  • What you most proud of and why?
  • What event influenced your life the most?
  • Is there an important person that you would like to tell me about?
  • Look through a photo album and ask for stories behind some of the pictures, who was there? What was happening?

4. Remember that this is about listening to the story from your loved one and be prepared if things get emotional for both of you, keep some tissues handy and be sure to have a nice cuppa and a little chat after you’re done to say thank you!

a man on Facetime

If video/audio recordings aren’t what you would like to do then don’t worry! This is your own family project and history can be recorded however you think best. Instead of recording your conversation digitally, some suggestions are to create a physical or digital scrapbook, a blog, a vlog, or anything else you can think of!

And that’s all there is to it! So why not take part and create a piece of history over the winter break!

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