Here’s a Thanksgiving activity that you can involve your au pair in, that can keep her engaged, keep family members engaged, and create something special for all of you.
Have your au pair lead the family in the Story Corps’ National Day of Listening. The actual National Day of Listening is the day after Thanksgiving (November 27th), but you might as well do this when everyone is together at Thanksgiving!
Use the guidelines that Story Corps provides, and mix it up to fit you families’ circumstances. They make it so, so, easy, with a Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide and even an instructional video!
- Create mini-videos of family members telling family stories
- Create some gifts for your children, your au pair and your family
You will need:
- A video camera,
A Mac or PC with an internal camera,
A digital camera, or
A digital voice recorder
- A list of questions
- Some willing interviewees
- Some willing Interviewers
Then, take the list of questions, turn on the camera, and start talking with each other.
You can use the list of questions suggested in the Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide, and you can make a list of questions just for your au pair and kids. The Story Corps website actually has a Question List Generator that makes it really easy and comes up with things you might not have th9oguht of. I’ve listed some questions below.
Don’t let the technology get in the way– use what you’ve got, maybe play a little bit, or ask your 11 year old to figure out how to use iLife or iMovie to edit later, but just turn the thing on and go.
This activity will not only create memories for everyone to keep (imagine putting dvds with the stories in people’s stockings, or giving them as New Year’s gifts!), but also you’ll keep a lot of people gainfully employed happily occupied during what can be a boring, tense, or aimless afternoon if you are not the one watching football or the thermometer on the turkey.
For Grandparents, you can ask:
• Where did you grow up?
• What was your childhood like?
• Who were your favorite relatives?
• Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you?
• How did you and grandma/grandpa meet?
• What was my mom/dad like growing up?
• Do you remember any songs that you used to sing to her/him? Can you sing them now?
• What were your parents like?
• What were your grandparents like?
For Au Pairs you can ask:
- What made you want to be an au pair?
- What was it like when you started interviewing with families?
- What struck you about our family that made you interested?
- How is our family like/not like what you expected?
- What are the craziest things you have learned about Americans?
- How does our family remind you of your family at home?
- What have you learned about yourself so far this year?
With kids you can ask:
- What a re the craziest things you have done with our au pair?
- What are the favorite English words she says in her (x) accent?
- What characteristics of our au pair would you like to have when you grow up?
For extra fun,
Interview your pets. (The kids can make up the answers and pretend to be the dog or cat!) Or,
Interview an inanimate object in your home! (Here we are with Refrigerator. Refrigerator, what crazy things do you know about our family that no on else knows?)
Keep in mind:
Listening is an act of Love.
Happy memories are gifts we can give each other.
Families all have interesting stories.
Don’t let the schlep factor get in your way… it really isn’t hard, having some tech challenges to surmount can actually bring people together!
Whose story would you like to capture? Whose life would you like to celebrate?