Question: How can we honor our Veterans lifetime of wisdom and experience?
Answer: Listen to their stories.
Why is it important to listen to stories?
“Unfortunately, our phones are built around us. We are inundated with Google searches, social media, algorithms, and AI recommendations. What’s wrong with a world that revolves around us? A few things. We start losing our ability to be empathetic and we are unable to connect with other people. And when we cannot relate to others, we retreat further into our individualistic, self-referential bubble, which is not an environment where wisdom can grow.”
Propitiously, stories transcend generations. They create connections with others. It is through stories that we experience rich emotions of joy, sorrow, hardships and failures. Stories show us a world beyond ourselves as we learn to engage with others by listening to their experiences and perceptions and how they think and feel. When we listen to a story of someone else’s life, it is as if you are living their story for just a brief moment. This encounter, however brief, will help us grow in wisdom despite our differences as we look to understand our place in this world.
“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?”
Who is willing to listen?
The UND Department of Geriatrics currently has a program to connect Veterans with UND students who are willing to meet and listen to Veterans’ stories. At the end of the meetings, UND will provide a digital or physical book that summarizes the stories that were shared by the Veterans. Dr. Jeremy Holloway is a Geriatric Professor and Director of Geriatric Education at the University of North Dakota. The focus of his research is concentrated on the social determinants of health, specifically self-efficacy, connectedness and resiliency of individuals, specifically older adults. If you know a veteran who would like to share their story, please contact Madeline Dorsher to set up an appointment. Thankfully, everyone of us can learn to take the time to stop and listen; for compassion always makes a difference.
Who can I contact?
Phone: 701-777-2845 & 701-777-6936 (Madeline Dorsher-project assistant)
Direct Line: 701-777-5617 (Dr. Jeremy Holloway-project director)
UND Department of Geriatrics
School of Medicine & Health Sciences E271
1301 N Columbia Rd Stop 9037
Grand Forks, ND 58202