Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grandchildren Make a Difference!

I had an awesome experience yesterday.  I got to participate in an interview with my granddaughter for her speech class.  The project was intended to teach the teenagers a little about previous generations.  The teacher called the elders among us a "living time machine." 

She asked me about the radio, movies, and news events I remembered from my childhood.  It was a lot of fun to remember on cue moments from my childhood, to be forced to recall details and try to make them meaningful to the class of sophomores.

I keep learning this lesson:  It's not just the memories that are so precious, but telling them, that keeps me alive and excited about current living.  It's the telling that makes them live again.  It's sharing that experience with this new generation that keeps it alive.  The lessons of the past generations don't have to be relearned if we profit from what happened to those who have gone before.

My Uncle Jimmie used to say "Experience is the best teacher, but if you pay attention, you can learn from the experience of other people.  You don't have to do it all yourself."

So I hope I get asked to relate memories again.  Writing about them is good too.  But there is something about those questions that brings up stuff I would not have focused on or thought about.  The memories I rehearse have a format that is familiar--not much new is happening--until the questions come.  To fit those memories into the language and context a student can understand makes them live again.  (You may have noticed that I used "awesome" in the first sentence of this post.  Language is important to how we relate.)  They are framed by different borders and compared on different scales.  I had to struggle to answer questions that I thought I knew.  It was wonderful.  Maybe I can get an appointment to be interviewed now and then.  It might be a real refresher for me.

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