It seems that nowadays we have so much going on in our lives that we don’t take the time to hear the life stories of our parents or grandparents. Stories from older generations can help us understand who we are today and appreciate our loved ones in a new way.
How to Capture a Loved One’s Story
Don’t know what questions to start with? Here is a list of questions to get your parent or grandparent started telling their story. These questions take the form of a “Life Review” and will help unearth stories you may not have heard giving a sense of family and tradition.
About the Person
- What is your first memory ever?
- Describe your happiest/saddest childhood memory.
- What is your favorite children’s story?
- Do you have sisters or brothers? How did you get along? What were they like?
- Do you have a special song that was sung to you by either of your parents? What was it? Can you sing it?
- How is life different today compared to when you were a child?
- Where did you go to school?
- Where did you grow up?
- Was learning to read and write a struggle for you?
- What’s something you were afraid of as a child?
- When you were a child, how did you imagine your adult self?
Teen and young adult years
- Did you go to High School?
- What were you like in high school?
- Was school easy or hard? What subjects did you like the most? Which did you dislike?
- Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities? Which ones?
- Can you remember your first kiss? With whom? Describe what it was like.
- Who was your first love? Your first heartbreak?
- What is your best memory as a teenager with your friends?
- Was there a fantastic party you went to when you were a teenager?
- Was graduating from high school a big event? Did you have a prom? What was it like?
- Did you go to College/University?
- Did you work while you were in college/university?
- What were some of your summer or part-time jobs?
- Did you have a Professor that was important to you?
- Who were your friends? Are you still friends?
- What do you wish you would have learned more about in school?
- What was your first full-time job? When?
- How much was your first paycheck and what did you do with it?
- Does/Did your career make you happy?
- What would you do differently if you could?
About the Family
- Who is the funniest person in your family?
- What about having kids that didn’t turn out the way you expected?
- Did you have any pets? Describe it/them.
- What is/was the best thing about your parents? What is/was the worst?
- Who is someone you’ve lost? What are some of your memories of that person?
About your kids
- How did you feel when each child was born?
- What was the story of their birth? Easy? Hard? Where?
- Was there a song you used to sing to your kids? Perhaps sing it again now?
- Can you think of a signature event that wonderfully demonstrates or describes the personality of your child?
- Did you sing a song to your children when they were young? What was it? Perhaps sing it now?
About your parents/grandparents
- Where are your parents from? Your grandparents?
- What do you know of your family history?
- Are there any special stories about your parents/grandparents you’d like to share with your descendants?
About your spouse
- How did you meet?
- Describe your engagement story.
- Describe your wedding.
- What do you admire most?
- What is great about your life right now?
- How would you like to improve/change?
- What are your dreams for 5 years from now? 10 years? Longer?
- What will your retirement be like (if not already retired)?
- Describe some of your favorite things. Food? Wine? Hobbies?
- What are some of the memories you associate with a song? A smell? A Season?
- What’s your favorite trip ever?
- Describe one of your most embarrassing moments.
- What event in your childhood has had a significant impact on your life?
- Which one of your parents are you most like?
- What’s something that helped to shape your outlook on life?
- Have you ever felt brokenhearted?
- Describe an event or time when you laughed really hard.
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