I’ve been (perhaps) harping on StoryCorps, the NPR radio show and podcast this month, but ’tis the season. I’ve posted several times during the years about using the app for “The Great Thanksgiving Listen ” which I’ve assigned to my classes for a few years now. But this weekend I was fortunate to record an interview in the mobile booth at Cadence Park in Irvine, CA. I could have used the app, but making an official recording allows my interview to be catalogued and issued an actual ISBN number. I highly recommend that locals take advantage of this opportunity before the booth closes on December 31.
My experience was both more and less than I anticipated. My daughter and I had a lovely conversation that went in unexpected directions in which we shared memories, insights, and previously unheard reflections. On the other hand, we barely scratched the surface of potential areas of deeper dialogue. The typical limit of 45 minutes felt artificially rushed. But it whet my appetite for doing it again with other family members.
I had a taste of the potential power of StoryCorps interviews during my recent college reunion at Stanford. My co-chairs, especially Markita Cooper-Blackwood, supported a StoryCorps-like experience for classmates to share a few minutes of solo reflections about their Stanford years or their lives since then as well as conversations with one or more classmates. Many of these stories were incredibly profound, others light and funny, and all were heartfelt.
Sharing stories and listening to one another fosters empathy and understanding. What a wonderful formula for improving our inter-generational and inter-cultural relationships as well as our greater society.