Last December, 8th grade US history teacher Eric Langhorst exhorted listeners to his “Speaking of History” podcast to “Create a Family Memory This Holiday Season.” I’d like to repeat that holiday gift suggestion this year and share a few related links, ideas and stories.

The StoryCorps National Day of Listening has been extended through the holiday season, and a free “do it yourself kit” is available:

This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives—it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.

Join StoryCorps in the National Day of Listening

StoryCorps: Listen Here

In order to learn effective and appropriate technology integration strategies in the classroom, teachers MUST personally experience and understand the value of digital technologies in their lives which can go FAR beyond email. Storytelling and listening to shared family histories is one of the best ways to do this.

In our December “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” digital storytelling workshop, several teacher-participants created tribute videos to parents both living and deceased.

Julie Roberts’ video “The Greatest Hero I Know” is a tribute video to her father, still living, who experienced an unimaginable tragedy when he was a young boy in an Oklahoma storm shelter seeking refuge from a tornado. This is not only one of the most dramatic storm stories I’ve ever heard, but also a touching story of a father and grandfather’s love.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

Debra Venable’s video “A Mother’s Ultimate Sacrifice” tells the story of her mom’s years of sacrifices serving her family with her time, resources, and loving attention.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

On a more lighthearted note, but still continuing with the theme of family memories, Barb Pfrehm’s video “The Traveling Photographer” relates a humorous tale of yearly childhood pictures in a time gone by, long before digital cameras or even Polaroid cameras were available. If you listen carefully, you may recognize the voice of an educational podcaster you know in this video! 😉

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

Last of all, Melodie Fulmer’s video “Homer Kay and the 2 Wives Named Ada” tells an incredible story of her grandfather, and his amazing family. Melodie is looking forward to sharing this video and others she is working on at upcoming family reunions in Oklahoma. Can there be more compelling ways to share and preserve family history and heritage than this? Certainly recording oral interviews directly with family members who are still with us is one way, but for those who have passed on, videos like this can be powerful teachers and triggers for those remarkable memories.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

The holiday time is here. Purchase or borrow an inexpensive digital audio recorder, and start recording your own family oral histories! Whether or not generations of your ancestors to come thank you for your time and work, the relative(s) you interview will appreciate the time and attention you give to them NOW in soliciting and listening to their stories.

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One Response to Give the gift of family oral history this holiday

  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! And thanks for all the good stuff you put out here for the rest of us heathens!

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