This year, StoryCorps and the National Day of Listening is dedicated to teachers. On this day after Thanksgiving, everyone can demonstrate gratitude for the impact a teacher has had on his or her life by sharing their story. Check out the StoryCorps website for much more information to get started. We think this is a much better use of one’s time on “Black Friday.”

When an elder dies, it’s as if a library is burned. As our worlds become more virtual, documenting stories connects who we are and strengthens connections not only to our cultural heritage, but also to our humanity, as well. Maybe you’re the baby boomer family member responsible for keeping tabs on all family-related pictures and memorabilia, even those from grandparents, great aunts and great uncles? Is it all floating around in a box in the basement or garage? The task may seem daunting, but to start, bits and pieces can all come together as in Collins Browns Meadow story.

Now, technology goes beyond the old scrapbook and provides more than a traditional historical archive. There are many websites to help you start building a family history like StoryCorps. Online free genealogy records and resources from around the world help to get you started. Video interviews accessible via the Internet can even be posted on YouTube. This interaction makes personal histories come alive as a living testament to a life well lived.

By capturing the present, we honor the past and inform the future. Some excellent resources we’ve reviewed for preserving life stories are Personal Historians, Life History Services and for building a family history with your kids, Family Search. Other favorites are Proust, Inc. and Family Line Studios, LLC which captures your family story in documentary style on DVD.

Fortunately, resources are plentiful for preserving family histories and we continue to sort through them to provide the best-of-the-best on Bette Boomer. If you know of any you think we should look at let us know. And, please feel free to share our resources with your family and friends. It is important to document your treasured moments. Preserve your life story while memories are fresh. Your future descendants will be glad you did!

And don’t forget to take part and “send a powerful message of gratitude to teachers from coast to coast, and help turn the country StoryCorps orange.” The National Day of Listening is an opportunity to let your teacher’s legacy live on.

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