How Much Do You Really Know About Your Parents?

Everyone has a story, so there’s no doubt that your parents may have an interesting story. In our busy lives, we often forget to talk to our own parents about their own journeys. It can be hard to strike up deep conversations with close relatives, so here are a few questions to ask your parents that can spark meaningful conversations:

  • How was their childhood? Was it happy? Were there problems with their parents?
  • Were your parents previously married? What happened? Any children from that marriage? Was a child born and given up for adoption?
  • What secrets have they held onto and never told you? Ask…In many cases it releases the burden of  hiding those secrets for so long. 
  • What’s their favorite color? Favorite food or cuisine?
  • Is there anything in life they have not accomplished yet? 
  • What are their fears?
  • What can you do to make their life better or more enjoyable?

Don’t be afraid to ask. They will tell you. Your parents might wonder why you are asking, but it will build a trusting relationship if you truly want to bond with them. Life does go by fast as we grow older. Some of us do change from childhood to adulthood. 

Have you ever considered videotaping your parent(s)?

Years ago, I used a book called “To Our Children’s Children”. Each chapter guides you through the steps of asking your parents questions.  I did this with my father who moved to California while I still lived in Indiana. I visited for a week and we read through each chapter of the book while I videotaped his responses. Starting with when he lived in New York city and looked out his window, what did he see? He told me… kids playing in the street, playing stick ball and the milkman delivering milk.

Afterwards, he would call me when I was back in Indiana to say “Oh, I remember this and I remember that” He really enjoyed it. I have put that video on a thumbnail drive and add it to my memory box for my sons to hear.

I also have a resource where a young man can interview your parents via telephone and record it. He gathers a list of family and friends and uses their voices to create a story book about your parents’ lives. It’s your legacy. It’s the most wonderful and memorable gift you can ever give to someone.