By almost any measure, I'm very close to my parents. We speak an inordinate number of times a day, and I have yet to see a therapist who hasn't lightly suggested that my transition to adulthood might be a bit smoother with the establishment of a firmer parent-child boundary (a word that may as well be blasphemous in my mother's native Greek).
But despite the frequency and intimacy of our conversations, I recently realized how much there still is left unsaid. I started noticing how many times our phone conversations about some problem I was having or some exciting news I'd received would end with me hurriedly asking, "and everything good with you?" before saying our I love yous and hanging up. I'm generally a pretty inquisitive person and tend to like asking questions more than giving answers, but with my parents the conversation is undeniably tilted in the opposite direction.
As a child, it's expected that the conversation will revolve around you. As a teenager, there is often little you want to hear less than your mom or dad's opinion. But as an adult, there is so much to be gained from flipping the dynamic and asking your parents to talk to you. We are launching Talk To Me in the hope that children everywhere will begin to initiate these conversations with their parents and ask the questions there never seems to be the time to ask.
I've often heard that as a society we no longer place the same value we once did on wisdom of the elders, but I think that there is a reason that articles like "25 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 25" and "What I Know Now That I'm 50" are so widely shared - we all want to learn from the experiences and the mistakes of those who have gone before us. With the launch of Talk To Me, we hope that people will start to look for that knowledge and that wisdom a little closer to home.
When Christina first told me about her idea, I was immediately excited. What I particularly loved about Talk To Me, and why I wanted it to be a HuffPost series, was the fact that it's classic HuffPost - engagement, conversation, and connecting people across boundaries, in this case generational ones.
The series will include original content executive produced by Christina. And, like HuffPost from the beginning, it will also provide an open platform for everybody to participate - which in this case means thousands of parents around the world being interviewed by their children.
We are launching this week with three episodes: Richard Branson being interviewed by his son Sam at their home in the British Virgin Islands, Oprah being interviewed at her home in Santa Barbara by three of her "daughters" who graduated from her school in South Africa, and Christina interviewing me at my home in New York. Soon to follow will be Melinda Gates interviewed by her daughter Jenn over a mother-daughter lunch.
We've already received hundreds of videos that we're going to be posting on a dedicated section on HuffPost. And in fact, another thing I love about Talk To Me is that it involves all of our international editions as videos are coming from across the world -- bringing not just individual families closer, but our HuffPost global family as well.
We are also so excited to be partnering with Unilever. We'll be working with them to inspire conversations on issues so important to us both as we all look to create a bright future for our children: from gender equality, to environmental sustainability, to child hunger.
I hope other parents will find the experience as fulfilling as I have. Like all parents, I always want any excuse to have a deeper conversation with my daughters. But so often, when the kids are grown both parents and children are often so caught up in the day-to-day details of our lives that it can be difficult to make the time to sit down, stop all the noise of the outside world for a while, and really talk. So we hope that by providing a structure, and creating a community of other parents and children from around the world, we can make the experience more accessible.
So I hope you - and your daughter, son, father, mother, or any other loved-one in your life - will jump in and be a part of Talk To Me. We are working with Facebook to create a truly global and social conversation, and would love to invite you to conduct your Talk To Me interview using Facebook Live, a new product that lets you broadcast live right from your smartphone. If you'd rather not broadcast your video live, you can record it like any other video and upload it to Facebook. Just use the hashtag #TalkToMe and tag your friends in the description, and remember to make the video public if you'd like to have it featured on HuffPost! If you have any questions, please email our team at TalkToMe@huffingtonpost.com.
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