About 165,000 people die every day. Often these deaths are the elderly and the sick but there are millions of unexpected deaths from car accidents, drownings, suicides and such each year. Chances are someone you know has passed away in the past year or so, and certainly more will pass away in your lifetime. Most of these people pass away, taking their own personal wisdom and life lessons with them. Over the past decade, I’ve given the following insight and advice to many of my students, friends and even people on Facebook that I have never even met or chatted with before. Most thank me profusely afterwards because my words inspired them to SEE the opportunity to have an amazing experience and great lifetime memories through what I refer to as a “Wisdom Chat” that they would have otherwise never experienced.
People often wish they had one last conversation with loved ones that have passed. If you have a family member, distant relative, friend or co-worker that is ill or elderly, go pay them a visit. Turn off the TV, put away your cell phone (and theirs), sit down with some of their favorite food and have a good, old fashioned conversation. I call it the “Wisdom Chat.” Take advantage of the opportunity to sincerely listen to others wisdom. Ask some of, or all of the following questions. And be prepared for to share some smiles, laughs, tears, memories. More importantly allow yourself to experience the conversation and see this person in an entirely new light. What they share will give you a new found understanding as to why they are the way they are. So absorb their wisdom, life lessons and advice and enjoy a powerful “Wisdom Chat.”
What were you like as a kid? Or in High School?
When you were young, what did you aspire to be when you grew up?
Did you get good grades? Why or why not?
What was your favorite subject?
What do you remember about your prom?
What is your favorite song?
Are you a good dancer? Can you show me your best moves?
(music of choice and dance with them!)
Did you ever learn to play a musical instrument?
If so what song could you still play?
How old were you when you 1st fell in love?
Tell me about them.
What is the best book you ever read?
Describe your favorite/most special day of your life.
What is your most proudest achievement?
Have you ever gave up on something that you regretted?
If you could do anything different in your life, what would it be?
What are you most afraid of in this life?
What was your lowest low point in your life?
How did you get through it?
What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
What is the one thing you always wanted to do that you still haven’t experienced?
Would you still try it?
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
What is your best marriage or relationship advice?
What is your best career advice?
What is your best love advice?
What is your best life advice?
Having this conversation will most likely be the most memorable day you have ever spent with this person. You must sincerely listen without interruption. Before you start, make sure that you have hours to spend ideally without interruption to allow the conversation and story telling to get deep if that is what transpires. Remember to listen without changing the subject and telling your own stories. This task is not about you. It is about validating and appreciating the guest of honor in the conversation. It’s about gathering knowledge about the person that you most likely had no idea about and creating great memories of the person that you would otherwise be without.
Of course this “Wisdom Chat” can also be done with any family and friend, that is not ill or elderly since we never know when it will be someones time to go. In this case, sharing each others answers to the questions is fine and will also be a rewarding and bonding experience. Just ask the questions that still apply based on the persons age. However, for those with ill or elderly friends and relatives, you should not put off the planning of this cherished and meaningful conversation. If you can arrange to have it in person, that is ideal, but if not, do what you can to arrange it by web cam or telephone.
The task is so simple, yet the possibility of having the most amazing, interesting and memorable, wisdom filled conversation could be the result. Not just for the one listening, but even more so for the person that is given the opportunity to re-live such memories, reflect on their life, their experiences and share their life wisdom. We so often discard conversations with people, especially the elderly. It makes me cry just to think of all the missed opportunities happening in the world as I type this. I seriously wish I had thought of doing this myself before all of my own grandparents had passed away.
As an International Educator, I’m grateful for social media which allows me the opportunity to pass this wisdom on to others. I hope that my words resonate with many people from all walks of life and the idea of the “Wisdom Chat” becomes a staple and tradition for millions of people. For those reading this that may have someone currently ill and without the ability to speak any longer, I sincerely suggest that you can crawl into bed next to your loved one, cuddle with them and have your own chat and story telling session. Because even if they can no longer speak, they may be able to hear you. So start talking and share your favorite memories with them. Especially those involving them. Tell them how they have affected your life, express positive experiences, funny stories, lessons learned and such. The most amazing gift you could ever give someone is to validate them and show appreciation to them, regardless of how many days they have left in this world.
I hope that everyone that happens to read this is inspired to have a “Wisdom Chat” with someone important to you before it’s too late. And I hope that you choose to “Share” this so that even more people can be enlightened by appreciating and validating the lives of others. I wish you all joy in your experiences with your future “Wisdom Chats.” I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Love and Wisdom,