How Will They Know?

Today I witnessed via a live television broadcast and with tears in my eyes an historic event … the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As I listened to his address to the nation and the world, I thought, “How will I tell my grandchildren about this great day?” How will they know? 

During the videotaping of the LifeStories I record with LifeStories Alive, I ask a number of times questions about important dates in history; the stock market crash of October 1929, Pearl Harbor Day (December 7, 1941), the John F. Kennedy assassination. I ask questions that ask them to describe how they heard the news, where they were when it happened, and how it felt. Know this: your ancestors will ask you the same questions about today … where you were, how it felt, etc.. How will they know?

How will they know if you pretend you’ll remember all the details?

How will they know if you think they won’t ask?

How will they know if you don’t record it?

The answer is simple … they will know. They will know if you take a few minutes to record it. It’s easy. You can do it. Here’s how: the minute you finish reading this blog, take out a piece of paper and just start writing. Or turn on your camcorder or digital audio recorder and start talking.

I personally like the written word in your own handwriting. No one will care if it’s neat, or with proper grammar,  or even if it makes sense. They will only care that it’s done by you, in your hand, with your thoughts … for them. That’s how they’ll know.

And, when they are in the senior years of their lives, when someone offers to capture and preserve their LifeStories, when asked about you and the kind of person you were, they will proudly take out the hand-written note that you wrote today, smile and say, “This is how I know.”

2 thoughts on “How Will They Know?

  1. Mike,
    I read this an loved your piece on the inauguration. I went there to Washington and wrote some stories that are on my website. It was a momentous and touching experience. My cousin and I both felt like we were part of history, standing on the Mall on that cold day. And you captured the heart of it, how will they know unless someone writes it down. Thank you!

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