What will you leave as a record for the benefit of your children, their children and the generations that follow that is a record of your time on this planet?
Here is a basic outline to follow. It is in my mind, logical, however, it is subject to revision as you consider what you wish to share with your loved ones. In Carol Franco and Kent Lineback's book "The Legacy Guide" they identify the seven stages of life and suggest that you write your story in this sequence: Stage One - Childhood, Stage Two - Adolescence, Stage Three - Young Adulthood, Stage Four - Adulthood, Stage Five - Middle Age, Stage Six - Late Adulthood, Stage Seven - Elderhood. This is logical and certainly an outline to follow if you wish to write your live's history. But who has the time? Who likes to write? Who is able and/or willing to invest the energy?
I would like to suggest that you use a different approach. How about telling your story? That's right, most of us communicate verbally far better than using the written word, so let us tell our story as our gift to our children and grandchildren so they will know us and our parents and grandparents and how we became what we are today.
We know that the spoken word is easily lost, so the question is, how can we record it? Today's video camera is the perfect tool.
First, we need a basic script. This will serve as a guide for us to follow and ensure that you will include what you want in your story.
Second, we need a friend that you have confidence in to serve as the interviewer. This allows you to be cued and guided through the interview. It provides someone to feed off of. And of course, a competent camera operator.
Third, we need a setting. Two comfortable chairs, a video camera, the operator and a quiet place. How about a fireplace? Lighting and sound must be considered.
- Family Background
Possible questions or directions:
Tell me about your grandparents/parents/siblings. Where were they from? What do you remember about them? Where did they live? What were their occupations? Develop questions that further your understanding of your family.
- Your Personal Background
Where were you born? Where did you go to school? Who were your friends? What were you like in high school? Were you involved in any activities? What happened to you after high school? How did you meet your spouse? What was your occupation? Were you in the service?
- Persons of Special Influence in Your Life
List the 5 most important persons in your life and why.
- Defining Moments/Events in Your Life
List the 10 most important moments or events that influenced your life and why.
- Life's Critical Decisions
List the 5 most important decisions made in your lifetime and why.
- Life's Moments of Joy and Elation
List those very special moments that brought you special satisfaction. These might be related to your children and grandchildren. This is a special opportunity to praise and reinforce your love for your family.
REMEMBER, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU PREPARE YOUR SCRPT/QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO ASSURE CONTINUITY IN YOUR DELIVERY.
THE FRIEND (INTERVIEWER)
Select someone in whom you have confidence who will respect the joy and importance of this project. They must not be evaluative, but strive to lead you in the development of your story.
Make it comfortable and within the range of the video camera, so that both you and the interviewer are within the picture. The video operator should not have to move the camera every time an individual speaks. You may have noticed that I have tried to accentuate the positive in this story line. Your feeling of loss may find its way into your story as you describe the passing of loved ones. That is fine but should not be the major emphasis. Here is your chance to tell your story. What a loving gift for future generations of your family.
Some material taken from Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D, Self Matters, New York: Simon & Schuster Inc. 2001