Black Friday Also A Day of Listening

could say therapists are professional listeners. That doesn't mean we don't need to be
reminded to shut up and put our listening ears on, especially when it comes to our own families.
That's why I love that some clever person had this idea to
create a National Day of Listening.

The writer Studs Terkel practically invented oral histories. He listened to common folk, survivors of the Great Depression,
tell their stories.
He revealed the truth, that everyday people are the
true heroes of history, as much as generals or presidents. I wish I had had the forethought to record the fascinating stories my parents had to tell of their younger days, especially my mother who delighted in telling tales from her childhood.

National Public Radio is running a series of such conversations. Daniel Schorr, a commentator on Weekend Edition at the age of 93 still active, talks to his son about his fears and apprehensions as a young man.

Whether we record our conversations or not, I like the idea of listening to the adventures our elders experienced with no purpose other than to appreciate that they weren't always the older people we know. Once upon a time they were young, had dreams and ambitions, troubles to overcome and had no idea how it was all going to turn out.

One thing is for sure. It beats wrestling with the crowds at the mall.

via an originally published post Nov. 28, 2008


  • My Grandmother is 92 and I love listening to her stories…..about the war, the Great Depression, some of her camping trips, ect….I know she won’t be here forever so I like hanging out with her now.
    Hope you had a nice holiday.

  • Hi, Rob, That’s so sweet about your grandmother. She’s a fortunate woman to have such a thoughtful grandson.
    You remind me that I read somewhere that when older people share their memories of times past their minds remain active longer. There’s something in telling the stories out loud that actually has a neuronal benefit. Sometimes we hear the same story over and over again, that’s true, but if we take the time to listen, interact and ask questions we are giving something back as well.
    I had a lovely holiday, thank you. I hope yours was nice as well.

  • SD

    Dr Aletta,
    As a swim coach I had the opportunity to take a group of girls to Pearl Harbor. While there my athletes ages 15-17 started talking to one of the volunteers who was in Honolulu on the day of the attack. They were with him for a while so worrying that they may be bothering him I went over and introduced myself and asked him if the girls were ok. He said with a tear in his eye that they were no bother and that he loves telling his story to the younger generation because his generation is getting old but the stories need to go on. The girls to this day still talk about that gentleman and after we went to the USS Arizona and came back to the welcome center they found him again and they all got his autograph. He was touched as were they and I am sure it is a day neither they nor I will ever forget.

  • SD, I’m impressed that your young athletes were so receptive to learning (and listening) from the older generation. Thank you for sharing this touching, moving story.


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