Powerful words, aren’t they? It’s the name of a book published by StoryCorps based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are important. They say that when we take the time to listen, we are rewarded with the wisdom, wonder and poetry in the lives of the people around us. Knowing our lives matter and that we won’t be forgotten is an intrinsic part of our being. Listening, they say, is an act of love.
StoryCorps launched in October, 2003 with 91-year-old Studs Terkel proclaiming, “Today we shall begin celebrating the lives of the uncelebrated! We’re in Grand Central Station. We know there was an architect, but who hung the iron? Who were the brick masons? Who swept the floors?” Since then, StoryCorps has captured and archived the legacies of over 30,000 people, falling into the categories of life, death and love.
Fundamental to the success of this project was the courage for someone to initiate a conversation, and then for another person to join in. Conversation starters included questions like, “How do you want to be remembered? Are you afraid of dying? What are you most proud of?” If we can’t take the time to have these good conversations with the people we love, how can we tackle the more difficult conversations that cause tension and conflict? The tools on the StoryCorps website including the question generator provide an excellent opportunity for you to practice mining for the treasure in the lives of those you love, so when you run into conflict you have the strength of your relationship and a deep understanding of that person’s values to help make them feel heard, and for you, yourself to be heard. Every voice matters. And listening is an act. Of love. Now go and explore someone's story. I'd like to find out more about Studs Terkel's name...
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