Questions & Answers
What is the difference between the two sets of cards?
The Level One Life Legacy Cards are 3.25” square. They come with a set of ideas for use, but have nothing printed on the back. The Level Two Life Legacy Conversations Cards have the same images and prompts as the smaller cards, but measure 8” square and have a three step flow of follow-up prompts on the back, guiding a more explicit conversation linking the story to values and visions for making a difference in the lives of others.
What does telling/listening to a story do?
Our lives are made up of stories, one after the other. When shared, stories entertain, explain, educate, teach, inspire. Most of all, in the process of telling and of listening, they bring people closer to each other in greater comfort and understanding. It feels good to everybody.
Do families really need a conversational prop when they are together?
Conversations in families can sometimes run in ruts, or flow from assumptions about one another, e.g. an 80-year old may feel his life experiences are not of much interest to his sixteen year old granddaughter, and vice versa. Sometimes it takes a neutral prop like one of the Life Legacy Cards to break the pattern and get people talking and listening to each other with fresh ears. It is inevitable that the card will do its magic and new stories, information or feelings will emerge naturally.
Might my clients or donors be uncomfortable if I use a conversational prop in a meeting?
The most important thing is that your clients understand the purpose of the cards, and see them as a reflection of an approach that is both highly professional and highly personal. Introduce them as a mutually enjoyable tool that helps you genuinely understand their lives, values and priorities, whether it’s a new client or a long-term client whose circumstances are ever changing.
How many cards to use at one time?
It all depends on your purpose and how much time you have. Just one card can yield a richly rewarding experience for everyone involved, but there may be times that one card will naturally lead to another. In all cases, its best is to let people have some choice about the card or cards they would like to talk about, and to be sensitive to their comfort levels.
Some ideas for using Life Legacy Cards with your family:
Play a game at the dinner table: Lay a card in front of each place. Let people trade until they
have one they’d like to talk about.
- Involve the kids: Let them choose a card they would like to ask of an elder; then reverse.
- Use as an opening activity for a family meeting. Pick one card and have everyone share their responses to it.
- Display them: Spread them out on a coffee table and listen to what happens spontaneously.
- Capture a life story: Use all twelve cards as a ready-made outline for a taped interview with a relative, client or friend.
- Use them by yourself: Reflect on what you most want to share with those you love – in conversation or in a written or recorded mini-memoir.
Some ideas for using Life Legacy Cards in your practice:
Put a set on your coffee table for people to look through while they wait.
- Get your clients in the habit of spending the first five minutes of a meeting with a card instead of small talk, engaging them personally from the beginning. Pre-selecting four cards to choose from speeds the process. Couples can decide if they want to speak to the same or different cards. It means both immediately feel heard and involved.
- After your clients share a story, use the cards to share one of your own.
- Use them as an icebreaker at a staff meeting. Pick a common card for everyone to share, or let each person choose a card to speak to. Narrowing the choices can speed the process.
- Use the single Legacy Card (“Picture the legacy you would like to create”) as a straightforward opening to explore a vision for the difference they would like to make in the lives of their loved ones and beyond – both during and after their lives. Where appropriate, discuss how that vision might be realized through their planning
- Give your clients a set of cards to use with their families. Customize the top of the box with your logo and have visibility in their home.
- Get a set of the Legacy Conversations Cards (Level Two) to guide your conversations with clients into deeper territory, explicitly tying the stories they shared with their values and visions for legacy.