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Dorothy’s biggest regret in raising her children: lessons from the work

One of the great joys of our Legacy Tale work is the opportunity to interview individuals and families about their lives and benefit from their wisdom. Using our proven interview questions and experienced strategy that is equal parts science and art, we help good people recall the past and reflect on the present. We help them leave their legacy.

When things go right while interviewing, my questions or interjections end up being few and far between. With just a few beginning prompts and an occasional redirect or reminder, memories flow almost effortlessly, as do valuable nuggets of lessons learned. I feel so blessed that I get to benefit from these bits of wisdom, as do the family members that will receive the completed history.

Our most recent lesson from Legacy Tale’s work comes from Dorothy, a lovely, active 85-years-young mother of 6, grandmother and great-grandmother to many. As we visited about her life, she shared this priceless pearl of wisdom without even being asked about regrets. (We could use Dorothy’s candor and concision in drafting our sound bites for video!)

Dorothy, age 85, Legacy Tale client

The one thing I regret more than anything else in raising my children, is that I didn’t sit down and listen to them. I was listening, but they didn’t realize it. They didn’t think of it that way because I was doing other things while I was listening. So I advise anybody to sit down, when they come home from school, to sit down and listen to your children!

-Dorothy, age 85

As I’m still at the stage of raising my children, this of course holds great value to me. And I want to follow Dorothy’s advice, to sit down and look my children in the eye when they talk to me instead of trying to multitask while listening to them. I’m happy that mine still are young enough they want to tell me everything… and I want to keep it that way. Hopefully if I show them by my body language and words that I value what they are saying, they will keep talking to me all the way through their teenage years and beyond! (One can always hope. :))

When we listen to the wisdom of those further along on life’s journey, we have the opportunity to learn from their regrets and mistakes, and perhaps avoid a few of our own. Isn’t learning life lessons- however and from whomever we can- what it’s all about? Truth is truth, and I’m happy to gather it wherever I can!

I love that Legacy Tale gives me that opportunity.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below. Was this helpful? If so, I’d really appreciate you sharing on Facebook.

Have you grabbed a copy of my free e-book of writing prompts? If not, you can get it here.

Don’t leave your tale untold…


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