After years together, it’s easy to assume that you know your parent’s story from front to back. But not so fast! There may be a lot you don’t know. Do you know what your mom’s favorite class in college was? Who taught her to drive? Where did your dad reel in the biggest catch of his life? Who did he take to prom?
So many times our visits with loved ones get bogged down by catching up on current events that we miss out on knowing the full story of how we got here. We each hold experiences that even those closest to us might not know about because we’ve never thought to ask. Use these questions to dive beyond small talk and really get to know your parents. When you’re done, you’ll feel like you’ve met a whole new person!
Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up there? How has it changed?
Did you get into trouble growing up?
Did you have a favorite toy or prized possession? What happened to it and where do you think it is now?
When did you first feel like a “real” adult?
Were you raised in a church? What do you find most meaningful about your religion?
If you could go back in time and pursue a new career, what would it be?
What was your first job like? Are there any life-long lessons you learned from work?
What was the world like?
Which world events do you remember most vividly? How did they impact your day-to-day life?
When did you vote for the first time? Who did you vote for and why?
How did you get around? What transportation was available to you? When did you get your first car?
What public figures did you most admire and why?
How did you and your peers spend your free time when you were a young adult?
What has changed most in your lifetime?
How did you meet your partner?
What was your favorite thing about your partner? What attracted you to them?
Tell me about your favorite date or memory together. How did you feel?
Who was your best friend? Tell me some of your favorite memories with them.
What were your parents and grandparents like?
What traits did they pass down to you? Which are you thankful for and which do you wish they’d kept to themselves?
Tell me about the day I was born. What was going on in the world?
At first, asking these questions may feel strange, but stick with it and the conversation will begin to get easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information and follow up with questions like, “How did that make you feel?” or “What was that like?” The more you discover, the better you’ll understand this person that you’ve known all your life. You’ll find answers to questions you never knew to ask and enjoy a deeper connection to your parents and your own history.