This is one time Nintendo got it right– you remember the “Quit Screen” message, admit it. Don’t be caught unaware–even though you may want to jump on Yoshi and ride off into the sunset, it’s time to do your homework. Awww, Mom!
Put down the controller and the remote—give yourself the gift of a bit of reflection. In 50 years no one is going to know what Mario and his compadres were all about, isn’t it up to you to share the joy and preserve this for the annals of time? Ok, so a bit tongue in cheek here but today we’re approaching things from outside the (X) box.
Older folks consistently say one of the things their grandkids want to hear about is what kind of games they played when they were young, what they did for fun, what “technology” was like back in the day.
Well, Sonny, let me just park mah T-Rex 2000 here for a minute and I’ll tell you how it was…
I must admit, my driving skills with Mario Kart were abysmal. Gah!! Why do I keep spinning around backwards? I try—but let’s just say that the “kids” have had to extract me from the corner in Minecraft too. But, hey, I play a mean game of Monopoly. And I am the Queen of 3 letter words in Boggle.
You, dear reader, can jump start the process and talk about your days of youth while they’re still fresh in your mind. Princess Peach, Bowser, Toad, Luigi or the Mario Man himself, who was your favorite and why? Or maybe you’re more of a Risk fan or Settlers of Catan. Go Fish, anyone?
While you’re reminiscing about game days with your pals, take some time and ask your folks what they did for fun. It will make for great conversation and I bet you’ll learn something new about them. Did they build forts, steer the earth with a shovel, have bottle rocket wars using trash can lid shields? Did they play dress up, soap box derbies, sledding, climbing, jumping off all kinds of things, stuff that made their mothers yell, “Don’t do that you’ll put your eye out!” Hair raising tales of derring-do—go look it up in the dictionary (bet you heard that one too).
What made you feel like Super Mario with all the stars twinkling around you as you zipped off on your next quest? Remember the joy of imagination!
Walk across the bridge to the stories of another generation. Take a look at this roundup of some of the most innovative inter-generational ideas out there. Watch at least one and let it re-frame and shape the context of how you think about those you interact with. Could you learn something new? Perhaps you have something to offer across those artificial generational boundaries? Rethink the concept of mentoring, it goes both directions and is a relational resource that has profound impact on each person involved.
Is there something in your community that you could help with? If not, what about starting something?
Be intentional when you spend time with your family or that neighbor young or old and who knows, you might start a quietly radical revolution in your own small corner of the world.
While living in North Dakota years ago I was amazed at the societal standard of tidiness among the folks with Scandinavian and German background. Lots of Norwegians up there. And some pretty funny Ole and Lena jokes, but that’s a story for another time. This was a very different way of life than I’d grown up with here in the sunny Southwest. I missed the more relaxed atmosphere of New Mexico. But—those northerners sure got things like road work and construction done in a hurry with harsh winters breathing down their necks.
A friend spoke of how her Scandinavian grandmother used to take the furniture out of the house every spring. Yes, all the furniture. Then, they’d get buckets of shellac and big sticky brushes and re-coat every last piece in the front yard. When my friend inherited the lovely old furniture it had decades of shellac on it –she was pretty sure it was holding everything together.
Someone asked the other day if it was possible to shellac her face for the preservation qualities. Hah! No, don’t do that— age and wrinkles, grey hair are all part of the masterpiece.
Spring cleaning led to thoughts of art and what makes something beautiful. Recently I saw a photo and short essay on this subject that was so profound I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. I’ve been unable to find it again but the gist of it is:
Written beneath a photograph of a beautiful young woman in her early 20’s is a challenge to the viewer to look at the human body as a blank canvas. When you see a baby, its skin is perfect and beautiful, a blank canvas. It is the living of life, the wonderful ordinary daily, the hardship, the joy and tears that create a one of a kind masterpiece on that human canvas.
Think of it this way, a genealogy is like your family tree; it has roots, a trunk and branches. It’s useful and there is beauty in the structure, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A personal history, on the other hand, is like putting leaves and maybe even fruit (or nuts?) on the family tree. It’s the stories behind the framework of who begat who and who married who, usually in the reverse order.
We all have family stories and legends about the folks who came to America and why. Some of you were here first and had to watch all the neighbors moving in. Some came for opportunity. Others came because opportunity had run out where they were. Some were on the wrong side of a political uprising. Pirates, tinkers, farmers, teachers, wheelwrights and preachers, as well as everyone in between. Who’s hanging out in your back-story?
All these ancestral immigrants shared a common humanity and a desire for a better life. Sometimes it was the choice between death where they were and life in a new country. Think about all the fascinating stories you can dig up behind those old black and white photos or the tales Grandma used to tell. Dig a little deeper, ask some questions and take some notes. Can you imagine your grandkids not knowing what Great Uncle Mike or Abuelo Jose did working in the fields or mines to create a new life out of sheer grit and determination? They need to know. Period.
In her blog, Quiet Revolution, Susan Cain shares an amazing story about family and provides some wonderful guidance for telling your own history. Read it at: http://www.quietrev.com/how-to-tell-your-own-life-story/
Take a step in the direction of growing some of those leaves on that family tree and discover the fascinating history behind your genealogy. Contact me to get started, I would love to hear your story.
I like rust. No, really, show me a nice shiny new something and an old rusty something and I’ll pick up the rusty one, gravitating to it even though it screams “tetanus shot!” Old rusty whatmacallits have a story to tell, a history all their own. Probably several. Who owned it, who invented it? What is it for? How many hands have held it, used it, where has it traveled?
If I was lucky enough to have this beauty of an old truck sitting on my place waiting for that “someday restoration” I would take my trusty pencil and paper, creeaakkkk the door open, climb up on the dusty seat, brush aside the bird nest and avoid the broken spring and just think. Imagine the history this old rusty truck remembers: the dad driving to work, the young girl learning to drive with Grandpa’s help, the courting couple smooching under the moonlight. Or the young man sent to town to fetch the doctor for the imminent arrival of one of his children. Maybe its a grinning boy in overalls, arm stuck out the door holding onto the lead of a colt trotting alongside, or kids wrestling with a pair of squirming, wet nosed puppies in the bed of the truck.
Can you just see the stories? Can you hear them? Can you smell them? Who knows, maybe you can even taste them like cold lemonade on a muggy August day.
Take a family heirloom and sit down and really study it, talk about where its been. What is its history? Try to tell a story from the perspective of that item. Grandpa’s shaving kit maybe? Tia Maria’s rolling pin? Make the story up as you go if you have kids, they’ll be delighted and beg for more!
The hands down best video I’ve ever seen about the history of an old object and the stories it holds is this one.
(shared by Entrepreneur Stu McLaren (from a workshop by Don Miller):
Now, go dry your eyes and hug somebody!