General Question

sarahpariso's avatar

If you wanted to ask your parents questions about their lives so that you could understand them more as a person outside of being a parent, what questions would you ask?

Asked by sarahpariso (67 points ) January 23rd, 2009

Ex. I asked my mom where she was when JFK was shot and what she was thinking/feeling at the time.

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23 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Id ask my mom what ever happened between you and my dad? Why didnt it work out?

ive tried before, but i never really got a straight answer

tabbycat's avatar

I think you’re on the right track, just asking your parents what it was like during other times. My mother, who is 89, was around during the Depression, and we’ve been comparing notes on a lot of things these days. She still dilutes laundry soap and makes a tea bag last all day.

As for the Kennedy assassination, I was around then myself, and it was an absolutely terrible day—and weekend.

suzyq2463's avatar

Here’s an idea I used for my Mom’s birthday one year. I came up with 52 questions (one for each week of the year)—things like “When and where was your first kiss? Describe the events that led up to it.” “What is your fondest memory of a Christmas and what makes it so special?” “What was one of the more traumatic events in your childhood? What happened? How did you deal with it?” “What’s your favorite facial feature and why?” Each week both of us would answer the questions via email. It was really fun and I learned a lot about my mom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t diligent and stopped answering questions mid-year (I got busy with school, kids, etc.) So we never completed all 52 questions. I wish we had. She died of cancer four years ago, and I sure wish I had the answers to all 52 questions to remember her by. Even so, the ones I do have are precious to me.

dynamicduo's avatar

I ask my parents to tell me interesting stories of their youth or growing up. They always come back with something new!

sarahpariso's avatar

What kind of stories? Can you be more specific in terms of what exact questions you’d ask?

cdwccrn's avatar

Tell me about YOUR parents? Which was your favorite and why?
Tell me about your faith. What do you believe and why?
Why did you chose your mate?
Why did you choose your profession?
What do you wish had gone differently in your life and why?

tinyfaery's avatar

I’d ask my mom why she never did anything with her life. She was the valedictorian of her high school, but thought she couldn’t make it in college. I want to know what she wanted to do with her life when she was young.

I’d ask my dad about his 20s. He was a singer and hung out with the Hollywood types in the mid to late 60s. He used to party, and I’d like to hear stories.

Blondesjon's avatar

I would ask them why in God’s name are they sleeping together.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Is there a photo album around? Go through the photos of them from before you were born and ask what the context of the picture was.

cak's avatar

Sometime last November, one of my dad’s friends came by to see him, unannounced and unfortunately, my dad was in the hospital, so they didn’t get to see each other. His friend left 6 or 7 pictures of them – all black and whites, from when they were late teenagers into early adulthood. Here were these pictures that showed a side of my dad that I’ve never seen before. He was goofing off with his friends. The pictures are from the 50’s – and really, they are wonderful.

After my returned home, I thought about the pictures, but we had so much goin on, I didn’t mention them. I wanted to know about one picture, where he and his friends appear to be on a boardwalk. They are all wearing newsboy hats and dressed nice – but you can tell they were up to something – it’s just that look that is in all of their eye’s, especially my dad’s eye. I wanted to know the story behind that picture.

But I let life get in the way – too busy getting ready for Christmas and didn’t ask him. Then, he had a stroke on his birthday, December 24th and subsequently died on January 3, of this year.

I’ll never know what was behind the picture. I have no way to contact the man that left the pictures – as none of us really knew him that well. I’m left, though, with that smile and glint of mischief is his eyes – something that always meant we were in for something fun.

I won’t wait to ask those questions, anymore.

jca's avatar

all of these are great questions anyone can and should use to do a little personal history to hand down in the family. once the mom or dad dies, it’s all gone. i am going to do it ASAP so i can have for my daughter, who loves my mother and she’ll have it to remember my mother by.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@cak – Please accept my condolences. :(

jca's avatar

i think the saddest thing is when you see an old photo from like the 1800’s in a thrift shop, and nobody knows who it is, and the family whom these people are from don’t know it exists. They would love it but they don’t have it.

cak's avatar

@aprilsimnel, thank you

Grisson's avatar

I like to direct my Mom to remember things by asking stuff like ‘Isn’t that the person who.. ’ or ‘was that the same trip when you…’.
My point is it seems beneficial to both of us when I can connect her memories of events with mine.

cdwccrn's avatar

@cak: I am so sorry for your loss. Dads are not replaceable.

Sloane2024's avatar

This is not a “if” or “what would you ask” question for me, because I do ask my mother these questions on a regular basis. My mom is my best friend, and, considering I know everything about her now, I also want to know everything about her past, and everything she wants for the future. I ask about her most wonderful memories not made with my sister and I, about her life as a teenager, about the things she thought when she was staring at my ex-father as she walked down the aisle to marry him, and what was going through her mind during the 9 months she was pregnant, about her favorite Christmas gift, and favorite place in the world, her regrets, her goals, her wishes for my sister and me, what she would have done with her life if she’d never gotten married or had kids. I like knowing these things because it carries our relationship to a deeper level. I never want to wonder about her… I want to know

Judi's avatar

I learned so much about my mom when I asked her about her first kiss (and was so surprised that it wasn’t my dad!) She was married at 16. I saw the young girl in her. I also learned about her whne I traveled with her to her sisters funeral. (She is the oldest and last reamaining of her sibblings.) She told me painful stories about her childhood. I was able to see her vulnerabilities and also empathise with her so much more than before.

sarahpariso's avatar

hey everyone, thanks for sharing all of your stories with me. I’m doing a project for work and I need to compile a list of questions that a Gen Yer would ask their parents. So along the lines of “where were you when kennedy was shot” or “what did you think of the Civil Rights movement as it was happening.” Any precise questions you can think of?

Judi's avatar

My daughter and I were just talking about when the Berlin wall came down. She said she had a vague memory of me saying “Watch this, this is History happening right now! Don’t forget where you were. Of course I forgot, but she didn’t. She wasn’t quite sure if that’s what I was talking about so we looked up the date to see how old she was. Sure enough, she was 5 so that probably is the History I was referring to.

mcbealer's avatar

ask them what lessons they have learned about forgiveness

Blanket_Jackson's avatar

i would ask my dad how he could hide his emotions..because i cant and it really causes trouble sometimes..

FutureMemory's avatar

I would ask what attracted them to each other.

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