Articles By Dave Dias
Most of us have overcome challenges in this life, and those experiences have given us untold amounts of wisdom and learning. Although these experiences can be excruciating, their victorious nature inspires us to realize how strong and determined the human spirit really is.
A perfect example of this experience is that of my wife, Irene, who has been diagnosed with an incurable, terminal disease called Primary Amyloidosis. This hideous disease produces an abnormal antibody in the bloodstream which attacks and annihilates internal organs. We have chronicled her story in the book Irene's Journey of Faith and in her blog at www.irenedias.com. In these formats, we have chronicled the colossal challenge of living through a circuitous stem cell transplant at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, two trips to the Intensive Care Unit, a Code Blue, two detached retains and the subsequent blurred vision through steroid treatment protocal, the 24/7 chronic nausea which lasts to this day and the three days a week of kidney dialysis that she faces each week.
How do we transfer our most dearly held, intimate, private and personal values from one generation to the next? Is it even possible to do so?
The transfer of our material assets from one generation to the next is perhaps the easy part ... either good planning was done with competent advisors or otherwise. The lingering matter is how do we, practically speaking, transfer our values, beliefs, life lesson and stories so that we can successfully commend them from one generation to the next? How much learning has been lost in the passing of one generation to the next?
I have become convinced that media and film is the most effective way to transfer who we are, what we've learned, and what we believe to the next generation. The evidence for this approach is tied directly to the power of visual imaging and the adoption of new technology. The proliferation of handheld devices with all their toys and whistles, the huge number of Facebook and other social network tools and emerging self publishing platforms argue that "every life matters" and colossal amounts of collateral material can and will be accumulated over a lifetime!
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.
Hear this, you elders;
listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
or in the days of your forefathers?
Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
Ancient Wisdom Writings
Thesis: We can do a better job of passing our stories and life lessons on from one generation to the next.
Most of us long for our heirs to have a better quality of life than our experience. That longing begs that many questions be asked and answered, among them are these:
- What is the BEST way to improve their lives and transfer our life lessons so that they are inspired, mistakes are not repeated and they’re able to make better decisions?
- How can people translate important life lessons of the past into pragmatic next steps for the future?
- How do we convey those lessons so that those who follow us can build on a solid foundation?
Can you create history in advance?
What would it look like if you could pull out a DVD and have your great, great, great grandparents speaking into your lives from their personal life experience? You would be able to see, listen and observe in their words, their body language, their clothing, their home, their work ... within the context of their lives. You would hear about the obstacles they faced and had overcome. You would hear about their relationships. You would hear about what was important to them. You would hear about what they built and their own personal, intimate aspirations. Would it not be overwhelming? Would it not be inspiring? Would it not also help you gain perspective and context for the life that you live today?
So, envision this ... which is, perhaps, the next best thing ...