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Life Review and Your Family Lore

Published by 4Hope on 2004/3/24 (4339 reads)
Our life story is part of our personal and family lore. This lore serves us and our children by revealing the screen through which we see the world. It helps us understand our past, make peace with our present and prepare for our future.

Life Review
KEOM & ElderHope
Recorded at the KEOM Studios
March 24, 2004

Q:So, Barb, what are we taking about today?

A: Today, I thought we’d talk a little bit about life review. One of the things that our culture seems to miss that other cultures have (or had!) is a sense of lore, the stories that make us who we are. In other cultures, these stories have been their life-blood. They serve to prepare young people for the future, and indeed, are a part of their initiation into adulthood. So, it seems to me that we would serve our children well if we helped them do all they can to engage their past more effectively. Part of that is for us, and for previous generations, to do some sort of life review with our children.

Q: How do we do that?

A: Partly, it comes from adapting an attitude about what’s really important in life and what we would like to share with our children about what’s important! One task for us as we age is to prepare the next generation to live their lives well, responsibly, and happily, much as you folks here at Mesquite ISD are doing. Part of that process involves the passing on of values, wisdom, tales, and life understanding. I fear that we don’t do that; we get so busy with work, soccer, or other pursuits. This is what I mean about attitude. It involves a re-orientation of our own values. Secondly, it involves understanding what is and what has been important to us and to our parents and grandparents. This may take some soul-searching, which itself demands time. I would encourage each of our listeners to write down a list of priorities that they have. This list should be an honest reflection of their values, not just a repetition of values as they wish they were. It should reflect the actual choices that they make. Third, we should begin to share the stories that have made us who we are, where appropriate - some of our regrets, some of our joys, some of our failures, and some of our successes.

Q: I can see why you refer to this as story, or lore. It really is our lore isn’t it?

A: Absolutely. As a theologian once said, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.” Based on our choices, I fear that our children see adults as people without a story. We are single-faced. They know little of our struggles and understand little of the reasons why we got where we are at. Consequently, they understand little of the origin of our personal values, and sometimes even hold them in contempt. Indeed, the truth is that we ourselves often understand little of our values. Which is why it’s important that we begin doing life review.

Q: And what exactly does that entail?

A: I would describe the process in this way. It means that we look at our life as the chapters in a book. By the way, I would encourage writing these things down, if only in a sketchy, outline form. Now, in this new book, the first chapter might give some background, explains the family that we grew up in, as much as we know. Another chapter reflects on our birth, who was there, who wasn’t. The next chapter explains our early impressions of life, love, happiness, sadness. What we can do is divide our lives up into chapters, chapters that explore the significant eras of our lives, the battles that we have fought. It is important, as well, to include a final chapter. This one doesn’t look back, but looks to the future. This one looks at what we hope life will look like when we take our last breath, and how we hope our loved ones will proceed. What a wonderful gift to share with your family – the gift that only you can give...

Tags: review   life   family   reminescence   lore  

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