Friday, December 11, 2009

StoryCorps ~ Honor and Celebrate Life Through Listening

Today is going to be one of my fairly rare non-fiber posts. I think it's a good post for this season when we shift our focus away from everyday thoughts and turn our attention outward towards the people we love. Perhaps we even find a way to connect with strangers through giving a gift or a donation. How about this for a gift idea? ~ Listening

Now we all know people who are good listeners and people who maybe could use a little practice. I personally feel that listening is a skill that requires practice. As a fiber artist and a long time crafter, I have also practiced the art of listening. Not everyone knows this about me, but over the last 20 years, I've only read maybe five books. On the other hand, I've listened to hundreds. I am an avid listener.

Listening is a very important part of my life. You see, I can't read a book and weave or spin at the same time, but I can listen to one. I love listening! One of the great things I have discovered about being a listener rather than a reader, is that I tend to expand my mind more into areas that I might be less likely to read. Detailed accounts of history or heady discussions of philosophy that would bore me on the written page, captivate me as I listen to the same words being spoken.

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine with a link to a story. It was the story of Debbie Watterson talking to her 10 year old son about being a big brother to a little sister who is deaf. It is a wonderful story and you can find it and thousands more on a site called StoryCorps.

"StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening." Inspired by the belief that listening is an act of love, they go on to say, "The heart of StoryCorps is the conversation between two people who are important to each other: a son asking his mother about her childhood, an immigrant telling his friend about coming to America, or a couple reminiscing on their 50th wedding anniversary. By helping people to connect, and to talk about the questions that matter, the StoryCorps experience is powerful and sometimes even life-changing. "

The stories are short and it's amazing how engaged you can feel in just a minute or two. Be prepared to have your heart touched and your mind expanded. Wouldn't it be wonderful to bookmark this site and listen to one story a day; to spend just a couple minutes thinking and connecting to the lives and experiences of the people with whom we share this planet? This is something you can share with your children too.

So maybe give the simple gift of listening this year. Give it to yourself and share it with the ones you love. StoryCorps has given us the incredible opportunity to honor one another and life itself by listening. You can listen to stories and you can even record your own. "StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are ..."


~ Phyllis ~ said...

That looks like a very interesting web site. I have bookmarked it and intend to go back and listen.
Thanks for sharing.

Jenn said...

Hi Phyllis, Thanks for reading my post today. I think you really will enjoy this site. I had a hard time pulling myself away from it.


Heather said...

Jenn--I'm with you...I just love listening to StoryCorps on my local NPR radio station! I've often found myself listening in the car with tears running down my face...the stories are so inspiring or sweet or loving. Isn't it remarkable that these amazing snapshots of human interaction will be archived for all time? It's so wonderful.