My friend, Patty, is so creative. She is always working on special projects and coming up with fresh ideas. By way of example, rather than exchange physical gifts with her extended family during the holidays or on birthdays, Patty requests that everyone exchange stories. To do so, she offers a single prompt… it could be anything. Here are a few examples:
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Which movie character do you most relate to?
- What holiday food do you most look forward to and why?
- Who is your personal hero?
- What is the best thing that happened to you this past year?
- What are you most looking forward to for next year?
- Share your favorite recipe and why it is meaningful to you.
- What is one little-known fact about you that you are willing to share?
She sends off the question for the year and waits. The responses she gets are remarkable!
Each year when her family members send in their stories, she learns a little more about them. Who they are as people. What their hopes and dreams are for now and for the future. How they live their lives. It is so beautiful. Patty compiles all those stories in a single booklet that she redistributes to her family. Not only is Patty’s family learning all about their people and where they come from, they are building an archive.
You could build an archive, too. And, it doesn’t have to be for family only. You could build one with your friends from college… your colleagues from work… your neighbors. Think of each year’s prompt as a contribution to a grand time capsule that honors the past, speaks to the present, and/or anticipates the future. And… if stories are not in the offing, consider collecting ideas, objects, or other items with which to build the archive.
Think of the fun you will have creating your chronicles. Think of the enjoyment you will have for years to come as you look back at the stories you have gathered.