Do you know much about your parents and grandparents? Where they came from? How they lived? Today, Toby Mathis of Anderson Business Advisors talks to Chad of Generation Bridge Media. Chad captures the lives of senior citizens on video to help them create a personal legacy and bridge the generational gap. Otherwise, all is lost and left behind for future generations.
- Why drawn to conversations with senior citizens? Most fascinating and interesting people willing to share great stories and wisdom
- Why build a bridge between high schoolers and seniors (over 60 years old)? Show current teenagers what it was like to be teenagers decades ago
- Why did Chad create a Memory Planning Toolkit? Offers worksheets that spark specific memory points to document or video stories from senior citizen’s perspective
- Why video instead of write your legacy? Video captures non-verbal communication, from hand gestures to eye rolling; 93% of our communication is non-verbal
- Who was the prankster, crazy uncle, or bridezilla in your family? Lives are built on remembering family dynamics and personalities that create classic moments
- What is Chad’s process? Have camera, will travel for in-person interviews where seniors communicate and pass down their values, beliefs, and messages
- What’s the most interesting story told to Chad? Gordy Sundin, a professional athlete who went from majors to minor league and released; Gordy felt safe to share and confess deep and meaningful things with his family that had never been said before
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Full Episode Transcript
Toby: Hey guys, you’re listening to the Anderson Business Advisors podcast. Today, I’m joined by Chad Ketcher. I’ve known Chad for a couple of years. Chad has a very interesting company that we’re going to talk about. More importantly, we’re going to talk about creating legacies, how you do it, what types of things you can do. I can talk on the legal side all day long. At the end of the day, there’s a lot of human things you can do that has a pretty dramatic impact or how the legacy you leave. Really happy to have you with us, Chad, first off.... Read Full Transcript
Chad: Good to be here.
Toby: I’m just going to start off real easy with a little bit of background about you, where did you grow up and why did you get in to what you do.
Chad: I grew up in the little town of Minnesota. Went to all 12, 13 grades in the same school, knew the same people. Decided I needed to get out of there.
Toby: Where were you in Minnesota?
Chad: A little town, a little college town south of Minneapolis called Northfield. For all my Northfield friends, I didn’t go to St. Olaf or to Carleton. I went out of state to go to school looking for some direction in my life, looking for some purpose. The funny thing is I found it in bits and pieces along the way. I stumbled into radio. Of course, nobody makes a living in radio unless they’re in sales. I have a family to raise and tried to make ends meet like that. Didn’t work.
I found an ad in a paper for a publishing company that needed a writer. I had an English degree. As it turned out, they were writing sales management training for pharmaceutical companies like Fortune 100 companies, the top of the top of the top. I did that for a few years, made some connections, learned some things, picked up some skills along the way, ended up in the ministry for a while as the media director of a large church. They said, “Hey, do you know anything about radio?” I said, “I will by the next time we talk.” This is all in the days before Youtube so I taught myself. I found an ad online for a company that did video training via DVD. They sent me a DVD that showed me how to set up cameras and how to edit footage and things like that. I’ve already done a little audio editing in radio so adding video to it was kind of a natural next step.
All along the way, I found that I kept getting drawn in the conversations with seniors. I had terrific grandparents growing up. I had great relationships with them. I found that they were just the most fascinating, interesting people with great stories and a lot of wisdom. While I was at the church and I was doing media, the youth pastor approached me. He wanted to build a bridge between his highschool students and the seniors. When I mean seniors, I mean people who are over 60, over 70, over 80. He’s trying to make that connection there. He said, “Would you interview some of the couples that are in their 60s and 70s. Find out how they dated, what they did for fun when they were teenagers and let’s show our current teenagers what it was like to be a teenager in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.”
I did all that and my wife said to me, “You know there’s a business in that, don’t you?” I went, “Who’s going to pay for this? This is not a […].” I did a little research on it and I found that there were a lot of people that do it. There were a lot of people who maybe came from broadcast television and have some cameras in their basement that they weren’t using or work seniors and just had a love for our elderly and for the stories that they tell. I started making the connection. I started talking with seniors and say, “Hey, tell me about what that was like.” Then, you put a camera in front of them and magic happens.
Your grandparents, before you came along, were interesting people. Your parents are cool before you came along. That’s what I have learned. They had interesting lives. They did cool things. Some people think, “My grandparents didn’t discover penicillin. They didn’t storm the beaches of Normandy. They didn’t win a world’s series with a home run. What did my grandparents do? What did my parents do?” It doesn’t sound like much but when you raise four kids on a farm out in the fields of Western Minnesota, you’d be surprised at how interesting that is. The depth of character, the personal skills, the things that you learn from that kind of a life. It’s a lot more interesting than you think it is. Our entertainment-saturated world expects everything to be fireworks, explosions, high productions, and everybody’s a superhero, everybody’s Tony Stark now.
Toby: It’s interesting that you say that because my family, my mom’s side is from Minnesota. St. Cloud. Great grandfather came over from Sweden where he was a goose herder, became a tailor and lived in Minnesota, in Wisconsin until the end of his life. My great grandma was a Norwegian. The only reason I know this is because they wrote everything down and we ended up getting one of the family albums that had the history. There were actually letters in there when everybody had the mumps and they were quarantined. He could see them but he could only visit them through the window. He’ll write them letters and things like that. They ended up with those.
Chad: That’s sweet.
Toby: On my dad’s side of the family, we don’t have any of that. We don’t have that history. It’s interesting, just to put up a quick comparison, about how poignant that is and how it does create and gives the story. I actually know a lot more about my mom’s side of the family as a result. Hunting, how they fed themselves, and everything else. It was like how you build […]. That was very real back then.
Chad: I’m almost 50 and I just discovered some things. My dad kept us at arms length from his extended family, for my whole life. I’ve just recently gotten to know his older brother, my uncle, who now has custody of him because he’s got dementia and everything. I just sat down with them and they showed me a whole genealogy of my family all the way back to Germany that I had no idea about.
Toby: Geez Louise.
Chad: Yeah. Things that I discovered. There was a pastor that came over from Germany. Some of them were successful business owners and had textiles. Some of them were just straight up alcoholics. You don’t know any of these things. This discovery of where we came from, you and I now have this other understanding because I only had one side of my family that I knew anything about my history, just like you did. The other side was just this cloud of mystery.
My mom’s dad, my grandfather, died in 2006. At the time, he had four great grandchildren. They all happen to be my children. I was an early bloomer. All of my cousins now have had children so there are 24 great grandchildren, 20 of whom he never got to meet. I will tell you if I were to tell you one of my grandpa’s jokes, you would not laugh, but if grandpa told you one of his jokes, you would fall out of that chair because it was in the delivery. It was in the presentation.
He could set up a punchline that even if it wasn’t really all that funny, his set up made all the difference and nobody will ever get to see that again. To me, that was a clarion call, that was a wake up, that was a, “You got to get this done because everyday, a million people write the last chapter of their story, close the book, and nobody ever reads it.” Then, you lose all of that, those personal dynamics, the facial expressions like eyeroll. When dad tells a story and mom rolls her eyes like, “That’s not how that happened.” You lose all of that if you don’t capture it.
Toby: It’s an interesting thought. You think we know about ancient cultures and things like that. It’s only in what’s actually left behind and what they intend to leave behind. Nowadays, we live in a day and time where that that doesn’t need to happen. I guess that’s why I’m interested in what you do. It’s because you’re able to be very deliberate about what you’re going to capture and what you’re going to pass on. Sometimes, you get photo albums.
If you’re like me, I’m not a big picture taker. Everytime my wife pulls out a camera and wants to do selfies and things like that, it’s not my favorite thing in the whole world. That’s not being really deliberate about it. But doing videos and things like that where you’re actually telling your story, I’d do that all day. That’s a lot more fun. You’re actually communicating with the future generation.
Tell listeners, so they know, give them an idea of what you do for a living and what your company does. I would love to hear some of the stories about what you guys do too.
Chad: Absolutely. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Generation Bridge Media exists to capture people’s life stories on video. That’s really the point. You can write down your story. A lot of people do. I actually teach a course on how to capture your memoirs in writing. I made up a series of worksheets that tap into the different parts of the memory, that approach memories from different angles. You can write that down. That’s great.
Toby: Can I stop you real quick because I actually think that’s really cool. That’s like a year-long thing. You question them every single day. It’s something that they can answer in an email.
Chad: I’ll send them an email a week. This is still in development. We’re still developing this. They get an email every week. Tell me about your favorite teacher. What was the classroom like in grade school? What was an activity you did in middle school? Tell me about a vacation that you took with your family. We’ll go back to specific memory points. Over 52 weeks, you can cover a lot of ground. You can type it in. You can answer as much or as little about it. Give us as much or as little detail as you want and then we compile all that. At the end of 52 weeks, you get either a PDF or a hardbound coffee table-style book with all of these stories that you’ve written from your perspective.
Toby: I think stuff like that is cool because I’m a writer and if you don’t write everyday, it doesn’t get done. If you said, “I’m going to sit down and this week, I’m going to write my book.” Good luck. I’m sorry. I’ve done that stuff. You can lock yourself in a room and that’s when you forget what to write. But if you’re doing it daily, it’s amazing what you actually can create. I tend to gravitate towards that. I didn’t want to get you sidetracked. A lot of this is about the spoken word in a video. That’s one thing you do. What’s the meat of what your company does?
Chad: It’s an interesting thing that you bring up with that. I’m glad that you called attention to that. The original document that I put together was a memory planning toolkit. It’s just a series of worksheets. Eah worksheet—I hate the word worksheet because people think it’s work—is actually the memory prompts. They come in at different angles. Because different people remember things, some people need an organized monthly, daily calendar list. They say, “Well, this is what I was doing in 1967. In fact, April, May, June, July, August.” They think like that. They think in the lines like that.
For other people, “Okay, find a picture. Tell me who’s in the picture. Tell me what was happening that day.” Then, they remember things in pictures and they remember stories and then they start talking about, “Uncle Fred is in this picture. I got to tell you about Uncle Fred. He was a character.” And you start getting off into that sort of thing. It approaches it in different elements.
I presented the toolkit and taught a class on it at the local library. Andy came up to me afterwards. Andy was 82 years old. He had been a teacher. He had been a school board administrator. He had been in education his whole life. Now, he’s getting into his 80s. He came up to me afterwards holding the toolkit in his hands with tears in his eyes. He said, “I have been trying to write down my memoirs for years because I felt like I had a story to tell but I never knew where to start. I never felt like I had a track to run on.” He held it out and he said, “Now, I have a track to run on. Now, I’ve got something to guide me through the process of organizing my memories.” Because if I were to sit you down in front of a camera and say, “Tell me what you did. Tell me your life story.”
Toby: Yeah, good luck.
Chad: Nobody is going to remember. And then, what they do is they get into 1973 and they say, “Oh, in order to understand what Harvey did 1973, you kind of have to know a little bit about his background but now I’m going to go back to 1957. Now, we’re out of order.” Don’t worry about it. Let’s just capture stories in groups because what ends up happening is to tell the wedding story from 1949. You have to know something about the people that were there. Instead of telling stories as a line, it’s almost like a scatterplot like you would do with brainstorming. Tell me about the wedding. Well that’s the story and this story and this story. These people, what’s interesting about them is now, you get a whole lot of family dynamics.You can […] but you get the personalities that are there.
For example, LaVerne. LaVerne was 85 when I interviewed her. She got married in June of 1949 in the fields of Western Minnesota. It was the hottest June on record. She was the eighth of nine children and her mom kind of got tired of making wedding cakes so she decided, “This time, we’re having ice cream.” Ice cream.
Toby: Hottest day of the year.
Chad: 1949. Refrigeration, even electricity in houses was not a common thing in Western Minnesota in 1949. By the time the wedding was over, the ice cream was all down the table. I think she even got some on her dress. At the time, you’ve heard of bridezillas, we’re a little more laid back back then but even now, even 40, 50, 60 years later, to look back on that story, you can’t help but laugh. You just know from the set up what’s going to happen. The way LaVerne told her was absolutely priceless because she’s so […] and so calm about the whole thing. At that moment, that’s fun. Those are classic moments. That’s what lives are built on. Those funny moments. That’s why when we capture that. Like what I was saying earlier, you can capture it on paper and that’s great. That’s really cool. There are a lot of people that will take an audio cassette recorder. It’s a big deal back then. You remember cassettes.
Toby: Oh yeah.
Chad: Poppin’ the cassette into the player and hit record and say, “Grandma, tell me this story.” If grandma was a good storyteller, then you can get some good stuff. That’s audio. Where do they go? They go on a cardboard box in a cardboard box in a cardboard box that sits in the closet down under the stairway and that’s where they stay forever.
The other thing about audio is you don’t get the facial expressions. You don’t get the eyes and the […] they said, “And the beer that day was awful.” You don’t get that stuff on an audiotape. That’s why for me, capturing these things on video captures all of the nonverbal. 93% of our communication is nonverbal. It’s not even in the words. It’s in the hand gestures. If you got two people together and grandpa is remembering the story one way and grandma goes, “That is not how that went.” Plus, you can put it up on Youtube, Vimeo, and all of these other sources. You can have it available forever.
Toby: Chad, what you guys do is you create memory prompts in recordings of people. Is this nationwide or is this something that you do online? What’s the way that you actually do this?
Chad: The vision is for it to be nationwide, but it really needs to be person to person. You have to make some sort of a connection between the interviewer and the interviewee so I do them in person. Right now, it’s just on camera. I will go, “Have camera–will travel.”
Toby: Like what we’re doing here right now. We’re in two different states. Where are you at right now? Texas?
Chad: That’s why we came up with two different packages. There is one where I will actually bring cameras, microphones, lights, the whole professional gear, rig and an assistant. We will come out to your house and we will sit down. We’ll interview family members. We’ll spend a day on site, in your home, or wherever you want to be. With a plane ticket, we’re nationwide.
The other one, like you mentioned, we came up with a package that we can just do it with Zoom. I can look at you, you can look at me and we can get those stories on video that way.
Toby: There is really no reason not to do it nowadays. I have a daughter. We chat a lot but there are still some things that if she has children, I’m assuming that she will, if I have more children, you’re still looking at what’s the future going to look like, what would you want to say to somebody, what would you want them to know about you. Me personally, I’m on video all the time. They could see a professional side of me but a personal side, no way. I’d actually have to be very deliberate about creating it.
Chad: You have to be intentional about sitting down and talking about your personal values in your stories. Honestly, there are things that grandparents will say to my face that they don’t feel comfortable saying to their kids and their grandkids. It’s not the same. All those personal dynamics are on the way. Sometimes, it’s helpful to have an objective third party. Even though we’re capturing it on video, there are things that you share when you feel safe with the person across from you.
Toby: I’ll use my daughter as the example. My wife and I will be somewhere. Somebody asks me a question. If my daughter is present and I answer, you just see her beam and she’s so happy because it’s not something like we would just sit there and say, “Hey, by the way, we’re so proud.” or “Hey, you did this great accomplishment.” Sometimes, it’s just that they’re hearing you tell the story that’s involving them and it adds a different dimension.
I would mirror what you’re saying is quite often we’re not really good at expressing ourselves directly to the ones we care about, or the future generations as well. We just ignore it when there is so much that you could actually give. I used a word that’s really important to me, which is values. A shared value system is what makes a family great, what makes a country great and all these things. It’s these things that we share. How do they even know what your values are? How do they even know who came before us?
I would love to have this from my great grandparents and my grandparents I got to spend some time with but not enough. I would love to know more. I still get bits and pieces from an uncle who will talk about my grandfather skating out on a family party and going down to the local pub where he gets to, like you said, sit and talk to anybody and everybody in that bar and he would hide. I never knew anything like that. Sounds weird but in a way, that causes more affinity because I knew who he was from my lens but I never looked at it through other people’s lens. Frankly, I never got to hear it from his lens, but it has been so interesting. That would have been really cool. That opportunity is missed. We all have an opportunity to capture it. It seems ridiculous not to. I don’t know. What’s the most interesting one you’ve done?
Chad: My grandmother is a bridge back to her grandmother. She was gone long before my mother was born so there is no way to have that connection. Values isn’t necessarily something that we’d sit around a dinner table and talk about. You have to be intentional about it; something about putting a camera in front of you and thinking about your legacy.
One of the questions I always ask is, “What are the core life values, life messages,” because people call it different things, “that you would want your grandchildren and great grandchildren to take for themselves and emulate in their own lives?” Some people are just like, “Work hard, do the best job you can make as much money, and get out,” but there are some people who are very specific about it. LaVerne in particular was like, “I would want my children to love […]. I would want my children and grandchildren to love God and their fellow man. Be good citizens and make a name for themselves. To serve the people around them and to be a part of the community.” That’s not something that you necessarily talk about at the dinner table, while it should be, unless somebody asks. So I asked and I asked where we can have it on video and they can share it with the family.
I’ll say, “Tell me about what are you most proud of in your own life.” They’ll tell me about career or things that their kids […]. “Tell me what you’re most proud of with your kids with grandkids,” and they’ll tell you why. There is something about the blessing of a father and the blessing of a mother that when they say, “You know what, I’m really proud of Anne. She married a good man. She raised a good family. Look at her kids.” Or “I’m so proud of the business this one put together.” Or “I’m so proud how he’s living out his dream.”
There is something about telling your kids and your grandkids that you’re proud of them. Not just, “Hey, I’m proud of you,” but specifically identifying why because that communicates your values; what you’re proud of. Just as much as just saying, “I want you to be a community citizen,” to say, “I’m so proud of the fact that you got involved in your church or your community and you led a boy scout troop or you got involved in the city council.” Whatever that was, something that you’re proud of, it communicates values and say well, I guess we’re the kind of people get involved and do things and […].
Toby: That’s interesting. I do a lot of estate plans and I’ve never heard anybody say I’m so proud of somebody. Boy, they’re rich.
Toby: What are we doing to cause them to think how great we are? You always think what do you want your parents to think of you. Quite often, a lot of people focus in on the money instead of the actual value they’re adding back in the society.
What’s the most interesting conversation you’ve had? Even one or two, where somebody and you’re capturing something and you’re going, “Holy shmoly, there’s no way their family knew about this.”
Chad: I’ll tell you one in particular. I’ll tell you about Gordy. Back in 1956, Gordy was 17 years old. He was 6 feet 4 inches, 200 pounds, 4-sport athlete, movie star good looks, and a wicked fast ball. He got drafted out of highschool by the Baltimore Orioles. They flew him to Chicago to meet his agent and that was the first time he’s ever been outside mini town, Minnesota. First time on an airplane. He was this backwater kid from the Midwest playing in the big leagues. He worked up Triple-A and Double-A and Single-A. He worked up through and his first start was at Tiger field in Detroit at the end of 1957. He had a -1 ERA. It ended up not being a great game from him. He didn’t finish but he played in the majors. It was the only time he ever played in the majors because later that season, he hurt his elbow. You hurt your elbow, not a big deal anymore. But in 1957, it would send you back to Double-A or Triple-A to work it back out. He went back. He drifted down to Double-A and he drifted down to Single-A. Spring of 1960, they let him go.
Now, he has a family. He married his girlfriend, had a baby girl. He tells a funny story about how he found out about his baby girl. He was in the dugout in Vancouver with a Double-A team and the announcer over the loudspeaker system, “Congratulations to Gordy Sundin. His wife had a baby girl this morning.” That’s how he found out about it. He runs back with his cleats still on, running sparks down the concession’s line to get up to the press box so he can call the hospital, talk to his wife and find out about all of this.
He got out of baseball, took his earnings, and he and a couple of buddies bought a bar in Minneapolis. As he tells that he drank up all the profits, he doesn’t remember the 60s. In the late 70s, now with three girls at home and his wife, he sobered up. She went through treatment with him. He picked up his life together trying to get a good in sales with Campbell Soup Company. And he retired well. He did great for himself. He bought a home in Southwest Florida, in Naples. Just beautiful. He made a good life for himself. When I met him, he was in a wheelchair. He was terminally ill with liver disease. He has who knows how long have to live.
We turned on the camera. I got some lights and a microphone and a camera. We sat down at his place and he told me about the time he and his wife went up to the boundary waters in Northern Minnesota. Just the two of them went out camping and a bear attacked their camp. He went sprinting for his boat butt naked. He picked up a six-pack of beer and ran to the boat. Left his wife in the tent. You can imagine the dynamics that are going on now.
Toby: Oh man.
Chad: The way he tells it. You had to be there. He laughed, he cried but it was pretty clear after a couple of hours he was fatigued. He had all he had. I reached up and I pushed stop on the video recorder. He leaned into me and he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Young man, I just told you some things that I’ve never told anyone.” Wow. When you get a confession like that. I knew he had a short time left to live so I got the footage together and I cut it down. They sent me some pictures and I worked the pictures into the story so you could see Gordy’s face over here […]. Got all of this together and I knew time was running out so I put it on Youtube and sent them the link. They gathered the whole family. The three daughters, the sons-in-law, all the grandchildren, there’s Gordy sitting in his wheelchair with MaryAnn, his wife, sitting by his side, all the kids and grandkids and they watched the video. They laughed and they cried. They looked at him and said, “I didn’t know you did that.” Three days later, he moved to heaven.
Chad: I’ll tell you the truth about that. There was something that I learned in that moment. He got some things off of his chest. He got to say some things to his kids and grandkids. He was a big tough guy. He was an athlete. He was a man’s man. You don’t say all the emotional things, the soft puffy things to your kids especially to the boys. That was hard for his generation. He got to say those because he felt safe saying it to the camera. They got to hear those things from him and they will always have them in his language, in his mannerisms and all that. They have that now forever.
It taught me that I didn’t just have a business. In a way, I had a ministry. I found a way for him to get some things said. It was like his personal manifesto. This is what my life amounts to.This is who I was. This is the mark I left on the world. This is what I’m leaving for my kids and grandkids. It stopped being just a business at that point. It became a way for people to talk to each other and for people to share some things that are deep and meaningful to them with the people that they care about.
Toby: That’s pretty impressive. That’s pretty intense, too. It’s not something that you just go and throw something up and do, it’s something that you’re called to do more so.
Chad: In interviewing people, to be interviewers, I can’t just take anybody. I can’t just take the cameraman and sit him in the chair to ask questions. I’ve got three pages of interview questions and I could ask any one of them. They’re in no particular order because I might get in to a story about the wedding day and find out a story about his career or her career or something about the kids that comes up and now, I want to pursue that trail because there is something rich there. I’ve uncovered a diamond that’s going to be important to this family’s story. You have to be trained to do that. That’s not just something you instinctively know how to do. You have to know how to go a little bit deeper into the stories and I can just ask you questions off a list and there would be no heart-to-heart connection. It takes something more than that.
Toby: That’s pretty cool. I really that’s not something anybody is really thinking about. Again, I work in the world of estate planning where, when I say estate planning, people start thinking of death. I would say, No, it’s creating a legacy.” The way to create a legacy is to establish your values and pass them down in some fashion. But we completely ignore the fact that we have tools at our disposal nowadays and that we could actually imprint the values to somebody else. Even as times change, you could do it. That’s pretty cool, what you do.
So, you actually go out and you do the interviews. You have, I guess it sounds like different services for different people, depending on how in-depth they want to go from the side of creating things and writing, to creating videos online, to actually doing a production and coming into their homes. It sounds like that’s kind of what the gist is. How does somebody get a hold of you if they want to learn more, Chad?
Chad: You go to generationbridgemedia.com. That’s my website.
Toby: We can post that too. We’ll post that up so people can see it.
Chad: We have a Youtube channel. We have a Facebook page. We have a Twitter account. I’ve got my misgivings about Twitter but I set up the page anyway. It’s a safe place on Twitter. We only talk about good stories. Youtube and Facebook are really the primary ways, but there’s something unique that we’ve set up just for Anderson clients, just for your friends that you’ve sent to me, and that is we have a page on Generation Bridge Media. We’re recultivating this right now, but it if you hit generationbridgemedia.com/anderson, that’s going to be a unique portal for my friends that come from Anderson.
Toby: Perfect. We believe in it. We believe that when you create a legacy, it’s about actually establishing your values. Again, you can do it through the estate planning process. I love telling stories about some of the really cool things that people have done for their families going forward. That’s going to affect generations.
I’ve said this for years. I used to tell parents this when I first started this 27 years ago and I would say, “Hey, you know what? There’s nothing that replaces doing a letter to your kids, do a video to your kids, do anything you can to let them know that it’s okay so that they don’t fight.” Because when you see people, especially when somebody is no longer with us, is there’s indecision, there’s anxiety, and there’s concern. It could be over the littlest things.
I remember when my father passed, in just picking an urn with my mom and just the mental meeting that she did to herself. What if it’s not good enough? What would he have wanted? and these types of things. I’m like, “I don’t even know what dad would’ve wanted.”
Chad: Especially if dad was the decision maker. If mom wasn’t a great strong decision maker, now she’s got a hundred decisions to make about every little thing. Get that stuff squared away in advance. I just watched a family just […] a part of her mom’s jewelry.
Toby: We see that all the time, but if mom is actually talking about it, if mom is talking about who she is and what she is and take those values in print, it’s far less likely anybody’s going to do that. In other words, it’s almost like dishonoring when you don’t do anything. The worst thing you can do is just not say anything. It’s just the anxiety, indecision, and the concern over whether you’re doing the right thing and then you get this fear and greed thing going on. Throw a couple of lawyers at it and you got combustion.
It’s so much easier if you just say like, “Hey, if you’re writing it out, a video is way better.” Obviously, we have all these cool ways now where we can capture these things. Do it and create a legacy that’s going to last for hundreds of years. Don’t look at it as this is going to be something that gets done once. Like Gordy who’s in the wheelchair, I can pretty much guarantee you that that’s something that’s going to be shared for generations.
Toby: I just appreciate what you’re doing. It’s not something I do for a living but I certainly appreciate what you do for a living and I certainly appreciate you coming on and sharing it with our folks that listen to this podcast and watch the videos.
Chad: If I can just pop in one more thing. You mentioned about the anxiety that happens. If I was just sitting down to do a video about who gets what of my assets, you can do that with a deposition outline. But when people start to think about, “Well gosh, what would I want to say to my kids?” Then, they get all the anxiety. “Where do I start?”
Chad: No. I’ll show you where to start. I’ll help you and then you can decide. It’s more like putting note cards. Every story, everything that’s important to you gets a note card and then you can put them in order later. If you do it as a series of videos, they may not even watch them in order. There are certain personalities that refuse to watch things in order. I don’t want people to feel anxiety about remembering things in order or remembering everything. As soon as we shut off the camera, every time somebody says, “You know? I should’ve told the story about…” Okay, now it’s on. Let’s go. Tell that story because it’s important. If it’s important enough for you to come out of your heart, then let’s capture it.” But I don’t want people to feel anxiety about the process. That’s why we give them the tools in advance. To call those things back up. To get everything fresh again.
I’ve had people say to me, “You know? When you ask me about Mrs. Salsbury, I could smell the carpet in my third grade classroom.” “When I mention that name, all of a sudden, I could remember the little girl sitting at the desk next to me who would pass me notes all the time.” I could see it becomes so visceral, it becomes so real to people and that’s what we want to get to. That’s why we give you the prompts so that you don’t have to try to call it up from a blank sheet of paper. Nobody likes writer’s block. Writer’s block is real when you’re sitting trying to remember your life. So let’s get the prompts to remember the important things, and those will call up other things, and it becomes a […].
Toby: It sounds like you’re a very good guide at these things.
Chad: I try too. Thank you.
Toby: You may have done it a couple of times.
Chad: When you screw it up enough times, eventually you learn what works.
Toby: Perfect. Well hey, I really appreciate you coming on, Chad. This is interesting. I love hearing the stories. I’m probably more of a story person so I just love hearing about people’s lives. I think it’s really cool that you get to do that with people. It’s got to be rewarding.
Chad: You’ll never hear anything quite so ribald as a 94-year-old woman with no filter tell you how she met her husband.
Toby: Oh God.
Chad: I’ll tell you why. You get some details. You get some interesting stuff. I have them on my Youtube channel. Check that out.
Toby: I’ll make sure that we put those postings up so make sure you send those over. I’ll make sure it gets attached to the podcast. I find that stuff just hilarious and amazing. Nowadays, it’s so easy to forget our elders, which is a growing, growing, they call it the silver tsunami because people are living longer. They have so much to give and we’re so busy doing other things and we forget that there is so much rich experience out there. It’s like kick them in the butt and say no, here’s a way to bridge that. I actually love that analogy. You’re trying to bridge some generations.
Chad: Yeah. Well in our jet-set culture, our careers take us away from our small town out to Chicago, or New York, or Austin and then grandma is still where grandma always was. So, getting separated from our roots, we lose track of who we are as individuals because part of who I am as an individual is from my heritage, my little small town, having my grandparents right next door for most of my growing up years. That’s different. That’s unique.
A lot of people don’t have any of that. Some of their relatives, their grandparents are on the other side of the planet. Some of them are just on the other side of the country. Some of them are on the other side of town and they never talk. I’m trying to bridge those so that we learn a little bit more. We used to just sit around the campfire and the elders would tell stories about people. We sit around the dinner table and […] anymore. I’m trying to bridge that gap.
Toby: I think it’s awesome. That sounds like an honorable career there my friend. I appreciate what you’re doing. Again, people can reach out to you if they want. I think you’re in good hands with Mr. Ketcher. Thanks again, Chad.
Chad: Toby, thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity.
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