The simplest way to connect with our family stories and past generations is to start a conversation with your older living relatives.

Robert Akeret describes these conversations with our elders as a lost ritual. Elders want to talk about their life experiences–it is a natural way to link generations and it is an eons-old ritual. 

 

Elder tale-telling has a long tradition in a variety of cultures and has only relatively recently slipped out of our typical modern traditions. Akeret doesn’t speculate why this is, but I can think of two reasons without even doing any research at all. In post-industrial culture (ie, here and now), there is more societal value placed on newness and novelty rather than on the wisdom accumulated slowly over a lifetime. Another reason I can think of is that here and now families are often spread across cities, states, or the world so interactions are different than when generations lived in the same home or near each other. 

 

Regardless of current circumstances, meaningful conversations with elders about their lives are a ritual fulfilling to both older and younger generations.