How are you connecting with family members during this season of social distancing? Perhaps you’re video chatting more than ever, receiving cards from your grandchildren, or refreshing your Facebook page in hopes of more pictures of your loved ones.
Now is a great time to go deeper with your family members. Whether you’re a chatty open book or tend to be reserved, there are likely many details of your life story that you haven’t shared yet. Your life experiences can bring encouragement, wisdom, and enlightenment to younger generations. Here are 4 aspects of your life story that your loved ones would love to know about, along with sample questions for you to answer.
While you might be out of touch with the lingo of today, and the faces that grace the pages of People magazine might not be familiar, you can likely name the top film stars and musicians from your heydays. Your grandkids might even be able to make you a playlist of your favorite oldies! Here are some things you can share with your loved ones about culture was like in your younger days:
- Your favorite music artists when you were a teenager
- The first concert you went to
- What you watched on TV as a kid
- The first movie you saw in the theater
- Your Hollywood crush(es)
- Examples of lingo you used as a teenager and what those phrases mean
Many of the most significant world events that occurred in your life are only chapters in your grandkids’ history books. Don’t be discouraged if your young family members haven’t prodded you for stories about wars you lived through or whether you watched the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on television. They may not know what questions to ask, and they may not even realize you have a perspective on events they have only yeard about. Instead, start by asking what the coronavirus experience has been like for them. Help them realize that the events of today will be their memories tomorrow. Then begin sharing about world experiences that have impacted your life story.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
- Where you were when [fill in the blank] historical event happened, and what do you remember about it?
- What world event affected you most?
- The president or world leader you cared about the most, and why
- The president or world leader that upset you the most, and why
You might even have a virtual movie night where you and your family members both watch a movie about a historical event you lived through, such as Hotel Rwanda (the Rwandan genocide), Argo (the hostage situation in Tehran), Remember the Titans (integration), etc.
Don’t be surprised if this is the aspect of your life that your family members are the most interested in hearing about! Everyone enjoys a good love story. But it’s important to share the hard times, too.
For example, your grown children might benefit from hearing that marriage wasn’t always easy for you, and you can share how you moved forward from conflict. Or perhaps your teenage granddaughter is falling in love for the first time, and you can join in her happiness by sharing your own memories of young love. Some questions they may be eager to get the answers for are:
- Who was your best friend growing up, and what did you do together?
- Who was your first love?
- What was your first kiss like?
- What was your worst breakup experience?
- If you married, what was marriage like for you?
- If you lost a spouse or friend, what was that experience like?
- What was young parenthood like for you?
- What are your best pieces of advice for parents?
Your travel experiences from your younger days differ greatly from that of today’s generation. You didn’t have GPS or cell phones to help you out if you were lost. You were likely stuffed into the backseat of a car as a kid next to luggage (forget booster seats and five-point harnesses), and you didn’t have tablets to keep you entertained on long car rides. Your loved ones will get a kick from hearing about what it was like to go on a road trip when you were a kid, or how you got lost while touring a European country. We’ve listed some questions to help the conversation:
- Where did your family travel when you were a kid, and how did you get there?
- How did you keep yourself entertained in the car or airplane?
- What countries have you traveled to?
- Did you ever get lost? How did you find help?
- What trip stands out as being especially memorable?
- Have you tried any unique foods while traveling?
- If you could travel anywhere today, where would you want to go?
Enjoy connecting with your family members through these life story prompts!