Grandparents are a connection to understanding ourselves, and as they age, it’s important to learn from their life experiences. They are an important link to family history and a part of the fabric that makes us who we are. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we may forget how much wisdom and background our grandparents can offer us.
So the next time you are with your grandparent, or a special older relative in your life – whether in person, on the phone or FaceTime – try using that time to learn more from their past. You may find some interesting facts about your roots and deepen your relationship in the process.
Here are five questions to ask to get to know your grandparents a little better.
Can you tell me about our family history?
Grandparents are one of the last remaining links between the past and present. Knowing your family history is important for a lot of reasons.
Medical history is essential for identifying any potential concerns with your health. This is important for keeping your health records up-to-date and keeping your primary or specialist physicians in the loop in case any medical issues arise in the future. It’s also important as you expand your own family to be aware of family medical issues for your children.
It’s also a unique opportunity to learn the story of your ancestors. Did they immigrate for a better life for their family? Any famous relatives? Is your grandparent named after a family member, or does their name have special meaning?
Use this as an opportunity to learn about how your grandparents met. How did their proposal go? What was it like to raise your mom or dad?
You might also ask them about any longstanding holiday traditions, or traditions associated with religious or cultural beliefs. Perhaps you can finally get your hands on a coveted family recipe!
What is the most valuable lesson that your parents taught you?
We don’t often think about it, and we don’t usually take it, but our parents do offer good advice. We often forget that our parents have gained a wealth of knowledge from their life experiences, and this provides a unique experience to gain insight from them.
Try asking your grandparent about a piece of advice their parents gave them that may have helped them along the way. This topic can provide some perspective on the views of your great-grandparents as well.
What has been the most insightful life lesson you’ve learned throughout the years?
While our parents and grandparents do their best to share their wisdom, most life lessons are acquired through experience. By asking this type of question, you are opening the door to learn more about their experiences, and what has shaped them to be the person they are today.
Life lessons are often gained through both good and bad times, and can stem from mistakes and triumphs. Learning about your grandparents’ path may help you to navigate similar life situations as they arise.
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
Asking your grandparents about any of their favorite hobbies offers a great chance to create a bonding experience. Perhaps you have similar interests, or maybe they’ll introduce you to something that you’re not as familiar with.
Be sure to share some hobbies that you enjoy too! They may have a lot of fun learning something new, and this offers another way to relate and connect with one another. Spending time doing shared hobbies and activities can build treasured memories for years to come.
What is your dream for your children and grandchildren?
We all have dreams and aspirations when we embark on the journey of starting a family.
A great way to learn more about your grandparents and their earlier years is to ask them what they had hoped and dreamed of for your parents, and yourself.
This is a great conversation starter for you to share your desires for the future. Your grandparents will likely love to hear what your plans are so they can support your dreams. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input and advice to help you achieve your goals.
By sparking intentional discussions with our grandparents, we can open the door to learn many new things and create stronger bonds along the way.