How many times in your life have you longed to do something but never got around to doing it? It’s certainly true for me! I really want to visit aging relatives more often; I really want to spend more quality time with my children; I really want to do more good in the world; I really want to ... you fill in the blank!
The very same matters confront us when it comes to capturing the essence of our elder loved one’s life. Recently a good friend, John, lamented that his wife had always longed to record audio of or film her mother. With camera or recorder on, she longed to inquire about her extended family, her experience as a young girl, learning more about the experience of her parents, grandparents and beyond. She wanted to capture the essence of the learning and wisdom that she had gained through a life well lived. She longed to have her “on camera” so that she could speak to future, yet to be born, family generations. She longed for her family’s faith tradition to be aptly expressed and captured for her children’s children. The longing of his wife’s heart passed in the passing of her mother ... unfortunately, that opportunity and those good intentions were now gone ... forever.
Why are we so often challenged by carrying out “good intentions”? Perhaps it’s the busyness of today; perhaps it’s not a priority because we behave as if we’re going to live forever. Perhaps we don’t have the right equipment or expertise; perhaps the family circumstances aren’t perfectly in place. Or, perhaps we wouldn’t even know what questions to ask or where to even begin because the vision appears to be so daunting.
Good intentions can be carried out but it does take INTENTIONALITY.
Here are four steps to capturing your family legacy:
- Start a list of questions you want to ask your family patriarch or matriarch. The list doesn’t have to be exhaustive but at least begin the process!
- After you have assembled the initial questions, speak with at least one other person about the idea and rally their support!
- Next, contact the person you want to start the project with and ask them if they would be willing to be interviewed about their past life experiences; ask them to begin writing down fond memories worth sharing and ask them to begin assembling old photographs and memorabilia.
- Finally, consult with a professional who can coordinate the effort in order to produce an heirloom quality product that will be cherished by heirs for ages to come.
Good intentions can be actualized with the right champion and consulting with the right advisory team. World-class material can be produced when good intentions are carried out with intentionality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Dias is a Vice President and board member of InterWest Insurance Services. Dave's primary responsibilities are in market creation and business development. Dave is the co-founder of the Time Out Conference and serves on the Board of Trustees of Azusa Pacific University. He and his family make their home in Aptos, California. Read all articles by this author ...