The importance of recording

Keeping family memories

Journaling, picture taking, blogging, and sketching, those are the four ways we have chosen to record our 40th anniversary trip.  When we were younger, we were content to simply experience events, and maybe just take a few pictures.   We remember years ago when I was in the military and we traveled in Europe; to document things, we took some pictures on the old film rolls and JoAnne kept a notebook; but neither method was used too much.   

These days it seems we just enjoy writing and preserving the memory.  It seems almost as important as experiencing the event.     Maybe it’s because we realize our physical memories are getting weaker and we need pre-planned prepared methods to prod our neurons to trigger the precious reminiscences.  Anyway, these days we have doubled the number of ways we write and record.   JoAnne sketches with colored pencil and watercolor pencil and pen and she keeps her journal, some hand-written, some on computer.    Both of us take pictures, many more than ever with digital cameras; and, of course, I blog.    

Keeping organizational memories

As a leader, this got me thinking about the importance of organizational memory and how recording of events is so essential to create that.   How many meetings have I led where I didn’t have anyone keeping good minutes?    How many times have I asked a secretary to look something up in the minutes from a few months ago, only to find that the record was not adequate?   And how many times have we searched for a good picture of a past church event?   At Community Wesleyan Church we are coming to our 50th anniversary.   I am acutely aware that the history of the organization is very important in understanding its present; creating a sense of cohesiveness and for envisioning its path into the future.   Suddenly the role of historian– which seems so mundane, even trite, during most years– becomes very crucial.  Just by the choice of what is included in displays and the way it is labeled, the historian will play a critical role in interpreting the narrative of the church.    When you think about it, those who keep the organizational memory—increasingly this will involve website keepers too—are critical to the long term health of the organization.  For an organization has to deal, not just with fading memories, but with longer time spans and changing personnel.   The organization’s memory is crucial to keeping the spirit of the organization alive.

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