Heritage has always been so fascinating to me. What our makes our ancestors or lineage real are the stories. It boggles my mind how many stories make up our lives and yet, so many of them are left to be forgotten. The stories which are told and passed down, in many ways, build our identity and character. As kids, we are malleable to the stories of valor, hardship, incredible adventures, and determination makes me feel that, because I come from this, I can do incredible feats too.
But what about the circumstances behind them, what was happening on the sidelines, how did they feel during those crucial times. It isn't casual commentary one would really share with young kids. And as the kids grow older, those questions should be asked so we can peak into that different side of our loved ones. We see who our parents, relatives, or loved ones were before we came into the picture.
I know the basics, the structure of their life and some great stories that go along with it. But what was it like growing up in Nazi Germany? Did you move around a lot? What ignited your spiritual journey? When you left on your motorcycle trip, did you know you were going to end up in Australia? How did your family feel about it?
My dad's 76th birthday was on January 31st. He has been writing a book about his life since he was 70. And within those six years he has written only 3 chapters.
I want to hear his stories so I can better pass them on to my future children, and that his tales will stand the test of time. What better way to do it by doing a video interview on his birthday?
Papa is one for telling larger-than-life stories. The way how he recounts events makes the imagination run wild. It was because of growing up around these stories of adventure that I had the itch, the curiosity to learn more about other people and other places.
When we were teens, we loved to tease him to try and get a story out about his younger and wilder days. Since becoming a religious man, he never wanted to mention anything of this time in his life. "How many girlfriends did you have, what was your favorite drink, etc?" As a response, he would just mumble something like "oh, poppycock," hit the air and turn away. As we are all older -and somewhat wiser- we poke about it sometimes, but his response now is slightly more relaxed. So I thought, it's worth a shot to ask some deeper questions that he was somewhat avoiding and wouldn't it be great to get it on camera?
And so it begins... Talking with my family, having everyone be a part of it and contributing their own questions to it... Check! The technicalities of getting the gear, people to man to the cameras, the whole production aspect... Done and done. Once we got all that down, it was just letting dad know what we wanted to do. And fortunately, he was game.
It was such a special treat talking to him and learning things we never knew. We got some pretty good footage of my sister, Michelle, being stunned hearing that dad was a smoker. He was telling his story of studying yoga and meditation in India but had trouble doing his breathing exercises due to his smoking, and that's when he quit.
Each of us kids in the family focused on a different aspect of his life: Childhood, Travels, Spiritual Journey, and then Us, the Family / Final reflective questions. Talking about each of these could easily take an hour each, but we wanted to try and get the whole footage down to an hour (good luck, right?).
I'm so glad we took the time to make this happen. It's important to show the people we love that we cherish them and try to uplift them in their life journey. Moreover, to learn their story, see into their hearts, and realize that together we are a part of something great.
There's a saying that goes: