My Generation
Complete a Project, Preserve a Memory

Complete a Project, Preserve a Memory

A better idea led to a better 4-H project at our house, and a priceless memory is preserved along the way.

'Tis the season: 4-H projects. The paint's still fresh, the glue is drying, the seams are pressed and everyone's a little bit frazzled.

Know this: you're not alone.

We had our 4-H show the day before we left for Simmental junior nationals (which is where we are now…waving!). That means late last week was a flurry of packing, rinsing, list making, crop digging, rocket finishing and general stress.

My oldest, Jenna, took a new project this year called Walk in My Shoes, which encourages interaction with another generation. I'd come across it through judging our county's 4-H records and loved the idea. Lots of kids do scrapbooks about their grandparents or collect photos from an elderly friend. I had the same general idea, until my friend DeAnna Thomas tossed out another one. We were telling her about the project the last time we recorded a podcast; she suggested recording an interview and she'd help Jenna produce it.

Genius. That's what that is.

Because you know what my inclination was? Write a story and take some pictures. It's what I know. But DeAnna – the former farm broadcaster – had a better idea.

Jenna came up with a list of questions, we recorded her talking with her grandma and grandpa, DeAnna helped her set it to music and took out some of the pauses, and now? Now we have a beautiful keepsake, their voices and conversation recorded forever. You can listen to it by clicking the SoundCloud gizmo above.

Next year, if she's up for it again, she could continue the project with an interview with my dad. I even have some video of my mom reading a bedtime book to my kids; wouldn't it be great to work that in, too? Because there's something precious about preserving those voices, of knowing you won't forget how they sound. It's important to kids. And it's just a great project. 

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