Read through the Conversation guidelines together. The most important new skill will be quiet listening. Getting comfortable with pauses – pauses with a quiet smile. Asking quietly, “Can you tell me more about that?” or “Do you remember anything more?” “How did that make you feel?” These set the pace and help everyone remember what this is all about – understanding the things in our lives that make us us.
We have great conversations all the time – tender, challenging and supportive conversations. We don’t have to plan them. They happen live – in real time. So – we know how to talk with one another.
Conversations that are intimate – and safe.
But the cultural roots conversations do take a little planning. It’s all about creating conditions where people feel at ease – where they understand that their stories help family members (especially the next generation) appreciate what is unique and what is universal about their family’s values. Many of the questions will linger close to sensitive topics – topics where they may have felt anxiety or pressure – or shame – when they were growing up. How wonderful will it be if we know how to honor those moments – honoring the child in them that is now in the room with us.
Conversations that honor – and comfort – the child in them that is now in the room with us.
As you all go on the journey, remember they are not in the conversations alone. If something touches you as a sleuth or as a ‘recorder’ – or brings back a similar experience in your life – meet them there. Share your story too. A shared moment.