Day: June 3, 2006

Parental Persistence

In the computing world, persistence means writing information to media so it is kept more or less permanently. Persistence generally is recognised as an admirable attribute like commitment or dedication.

In this modern world with so many ways of staying in touch instantly here and now, it is easy to forget the importance of long term perspective across generations – from people that have been around a long time before us.

Parental persistence is the process of capturing and sharing memories from your elders, parents, grand parents, anyone with memories from before you were born. It might seem like the meanderings of old and irrelevant, out of date people but you will be amazed at the relevance these thoughts have across generations for your children, grand children and their grand children.

Here is a list of suggested questions to ask your elders, sit them down comfortably in a familiar place with a video camera on a tripod zoomed up so you get their facial expressions as they relive their experiences. Make sure you have lots of film and time.

Maybe you will get a wonderfully successful result on the first day, or maybe you will have to try twenty times over a couple of years and still only get ten minutes of joy. The next generations will treasure your efforts regardless.

‘Think of this camera as representing all the generations that follow you. This is your chance to talk to them, perhaps in 5 years, or 10 or 100. Things you have seen will be impossible for them to imagine, things they will see are impossible for us to imagne.

We can’t stop time, but we can attempt to bridge it with this video.

As we progress, tell the next generations anything you want to share. As we go through your life tell us what went well and what didn’t, what you learned, your likes and dislikes, who and what you loved and what you would change or never change. This story is your story, take as much or as little time as you like. Take as many side roads or diversions and tell as many tales as you like. That is what this is all about.

Lets start by finding out about –
– your name, age, where you are from and how you would describe yourself
– your parents and their parents
– your siblings and cousins
– your friends
– the rest of your family (partner, children, grand children, step children, others)
– your schools
– your childhood memories
– your other educational experience/s
– your work experiences
– your sports and hobbies
– your fondest memories
– your loves – people and experiences
– food you like or remember
– best holidays
– worst holidays
– favourite places
– toughest times
– biggest successes
– what innovations do you think amazed your parents
– what innovations have amazed your in your life

We now know a lot of about you, some wonderful times and tough times. If you feel comfortable, can we also talk about some personal moments –
– your health and health habits as a child, young adult and now
– meeting your partner, getting married
– arrrival of children
– life changes around getting married and/or having children
– losses in life of loved ones
– things you love about their children and grandchildren
– what inspires you
– what fears do you hold
– your scariest day
– your most courageous day
– what or who has given you the most guidance in life
– what hopes you hold for your children and theirs
– advice you would offer the world in coming decades
– advice you would offer your ancestors

Make lots of copies of the video, as interviewee to sign and date them. It costs a bit but resist the temptation to make one copy as a backup and keep both. Think of 5 or 10 or more peers (siblings, cousins and close friends particularly) in your generation, make a copy for each of them and then make another few spares. Encourage them to do the same in return with their elders.

If you are generous and you and/or yor peers have children just make a copy for each of them. They and their children will thank you for it long after you are gone.

Notice that these are all open questions, you don’t want yes or no answers and it is important to allow people latitude to discuss what is important to them.

If you follow these simple suggestions, your efforts will be shared with future generations and you too may be remembered this way when you become an elder of our society.

God bless and a long and joyous life.

Cheers, Peter.

PS: Print this suggestion list in the darkest inkk you can and include copies with the video.

PPS: Forward this link to your brothers, sisters, cousins and friends now then ring your parents or other elders and book a time for their Parental Persistence.

Peter J Cooper
Sydney, Australia
6 June 2006.