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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Journal With Impact: Family Reunions

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Memories are created by what we do not by what we think.” Byron Pulsifer


What family memories mean the most to you? Have you asked other family members what they remember? Family reunions are a natural opportunity to bring up family stories, but not always the best time to go deeper.

Yet it is a good way to capture events that might otherwise go unnoticed. Photographs and videos and art sketches help to capture the immediate conversations, yet usually there is some back-story as well. Family gatherings can be a great source to begin to gather memories that otherwise would be lost.

Look for ways to ask the older generation questions and record them when possible. Or consider trying to do a group memory of a particular incident.

If talking about family history while at the reunion is not appropriate, then set up appointments either in person, or by phone, and do mini interviews. Ask fun questions such as how did you get your name? And how did their name be a positive, or negative, or neutral, experience growing up? Did it get twisted into nicknames?

Or search out the Family “secrets.” Was the person with the reputation really a black sheep or just different from the others? What happens if it’s revealed that another relative was living a lie?

Additional Applications
Consider mentors as well who have contributed to life wisdom, faith walk, or your vocational field and set up questions and interview with them too.

“Memories, important yesterdays, were once today’s. Treasure and notice today.”
                                                                                                                              Gloria Gaither

Action Steps: Here are a few interview tips to get started.

1. Be specific about what you want to discuss before you meet in person.

2. Prepare a list of possible questions and leave the most difficult questions to the end.

3. Be prepared to listen rather than trying to keep your agenda.

4. Focus on one or two aspects.

5. Pay attention to body language and other silent responses.

Share: Did you discover a memory that turned out to be different from the reality?

Read deep, marcy

1 comment:

  1. I've only been to one family reunion, when I was about eleven, and even then, I really think it was a birthday party for a bunch of the distant cousins. Growing up, I tried to interview my grandparents about their lives, but somehow, the stories were always very short and filled with a guarded pain I don't think I realized until I was in my late twenties. I can remember my grandfather saying he owned a pet monkey, and one winter, he lost his little monkey. He says it froze to death out in the wintry elements; when in reality, I believe it was killed so they could have food on the table. That story will always stick with me, for what do you tell a little boy during the Depression: You won't get to eat today, or, I'm sorry your monkey died. . . .


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