I was cycling home from work recently, keeping one eye out for a cranky Magpie (read about their peculiar hatred of cyclists!) and absent-mindedly musing about the concept of communicating with one’s future generations.
This is not as far-fetched as it sounds.
The last decade has certainly been one of a communication revolution. Writing letters used to happen with pen and paper, and required envelopes and stamps if they were ever to get to the intended recipient. Nowadays, an email is instant, and can not only reach many people at once, but can also take a video clip or photos along with the message.
So many people are now literate. We tend to take reading, writing and cyberspace for granted, and photos, diagrams, books, emails, blogs and journals are now so easy to create.
Many people are interested in their past and would give a lot to have a diary or some other genuine description of the life/lives of their ancestors. The amazing surge of interest in researching family trees has predictably come about because so much information is now available on the internet. This mass of data is growing daily and much of it is free.
So let us assume that future generations will have a similar interest of our life – life as we live it … right now!
Have you ever thought of leaving messages for your descendants? I am not referring to a general book for everyone to read, I think one could be quite specific about who the intended recipient would be! What would you say to your great-grandchildren? Or their children? Would you describe life differently for the girls and/or the boys?
Would you leave a create a time capsule and put stories about your life into that capsule? What do you think your descendants would like to know about you? Would you tell all, including the goofups and the mistakes or would it be a biased happy/successful profile!
What photos would you select?
Would you write a message telling of your hopes and dreams for the future of the world, given what we know now?
Would you ask them to fulfill dreams for you or seek answers to questions you were not able to answer yourself?
At what age would each generation be permitted to “open and read” your messages?
What media would you use? Video? Photos? Written stories? A blog? What else would you include? Newspapers? A treasured item of clothing?
Given how quickly storage media changes (remember those 7 inch floppy disks?!) will you ask each generation to update your media so that it can be read?
So many questions – so much food for thought.
One thing is certain though…. if you don’t capture something about your life and times, your descendants will most likely only ever know you by a name on a headstone (if you happen to get one!)
Do you have plans to leave a bit of yourself behind for others to know you long after you have left this world?