Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


National Day of Listening

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I love stories and today is the National Day of Listening.

One of the hardest things to explain to geeks on a helpdesk is that the everything they do is about people. It’s not about systems or networks or computers, but, rather, the people who use them. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t seem to get that. And, for me, people are about stories. The story of someone’s life can be a fascinating thing, if we just take the time to listen.

In my family, I’ve become my generation’s historian. I’ve collected the stories of all those relatives marching back into time and memory. I got them from both my parents and my paternal grandmother, who lived with us from the time I was born until she passed away when I was in college. All that time, I collected stories. I can tell you the story of my great-great-great grandfather who fought in the civil war after getting drunk and signed up by a recruiting agent. (But, since I’m in the South, I won’t tell you what side he fought for!) I can tell you about my great-grandfather who rode the rails with Hinky-Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Kenzie, two of Chicago’s most notorious Aldermen. I can even tell you about how that same great-grandfather took my father to that Bathhouse John’s house of ill-repute and the “nice ladies” who doted on him while he was there on the porch.
But, many families have lost their stories. They don’t know their history. The National Day of Listening is meant to help keep that from happening to another generation. I saw this on LifeHacker first, but I’ve heard about the group running it, StoryCorps, on NPR. The idea is simple. Go find one of your older relatives and ask questions about their life. Interview them, if you will. And then, listen, and pass the story on. Go to the link and download the guide and then, do it. When you start collecting the stories of your family’s life, I think you’ll be glad you did. I hope so.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The greatest achievements are those that benefit others."
   --Denis Waitley

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