Participate in #TheGreatListen this Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of gratitude and family, but sometimes it can turn into a day of bickering and stress. For all of us who no longer have our parents with us, I urge you to put aside the differences and the things about your family that annoy you and focus on the good things.

At the very least, take it as a grand opportunity to record family stories. Don’t be shy; ignore the naysayers. Organizations like StoryCorps have smartphone apps and tools that make capturing family lore easy for anyone.

As I discovered writing The Reluctant Caregiver, there is nothing like have a story recorded in a loved one’s own voice. I found gaps in my memory when trying to recount some family legends.

What is The Great Listen?

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national movement that empowers young people—and people of all ages—to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder using the free StoryCorps App.

Download and print The Great Thanksgiving Listen Placemat

Pretend that the Thanksgiving meal is the last time you’ll see a particular elder. (I hope you have many more years with all of your loved ones, but let’s face it, we often take family for granted.) What must you know before they depart this earth? What stories of theirs do you want recorded for posterity? Are there things you wish to share with them, to thank them for? Let them know.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with loved ones and friends.



Filed under Awareness & Activism

5 responses to “Participate in #TheGreatListen this Thanksgiving

  1. This is such a great idea. Thank you for sharing it. I’m so much more grateful for family since I moved home. My mom is not well, and let’s face it, both my parents are almost old. I won’t consider them old until they hit 80, and that’s not until 2020. I know this sounds cold, but I never really fit in with my husband’s family and didn’t feel so comfortable there. It’s good to be home.

    Blessings to you on this Thanksgiving and beyond, Joy.

  2. Some of my most precious memories are from those times past. Bickering wasn’t an option at the table with my very Victorian era Great-grandmother. I can remember what she had to say because we were not allowed to speak unless spoken to. (Who else remembers that?!) Oh the special stories that I have to share with our children from listening to her. Happy Thanksgiving to you also!

    • Your great-grandmother sounds like quite the character! And yes, children definitely had their place back then: “should be seen not heard.” Thanks for sharing, happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Joy. I’m fortunate to still have my parents. My father is 80 and he’s the full-time caregiver for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. As you know, the stress has caused a lot of health issues for my father and since I’m the only child in the state, I’m carry a heavy load…much of it feeling guilty that I’m never doing enough. I cherish every second I have with my parents and have a difficult time imagining my world without them. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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