We celebrated Father’s Day in grand style last weekend with a wonderful lunch at the new Porter Creek restaurant, flowers, candy and a card. 7 year old Grant all on his own found the perfect card for his dad, with a reference about having a relaxing day and a joke
about snoring! We also bought cards for my dad, Grandpa Mark and my late father-in-law Grandpa Howard. Grant also selected some flowers for his grave.
When my grandparents passed away and my father-in-law passed away and I found myself thinking, “I wish I had known them better.”
I wish I knew more stories about them, stories I could pass along to my son Grant.
I wish I had asked deep, thoughtful questions a little more often.
I wish I had recorded them speaking, just to preserve the sound of their voices.
Now it’s too late, and quite honestly, I regret it.
Parents get some well-deserved attention on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but it’s important to celebrate moms and dads on the other 363 days of the year, too.
One beautiful idea:
Sit down with one (or both) of your parents, a pad of paper, and a voice recorder app, and interview them for an hour. (Or more).
Try to ask questions you’ve never asked before, or haven’t asked for a long time.
Questions that dive below surface level.
– What is one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to overcome? How did you do it?
– What was the world like when you were very young? What do you remember?
– What were some of your favorite things to do when you were a teenager?
– How did you meet [mom / dad]? How did you know that you were in love?
– What kinds of careers did you consider pursuing, or dream about pursuing, when you were a kid?
– What matters most in life? What doesn’t really matter?
– What’s something you often worried about when you were younger that you don’t worry about anymore?
– What is something you regret?
– What is something you will never regret?
Encourage your mom or dad to share how certain events felt — revealing emotional details, not just facts and dates. Record their stories. Get them transcribed. If you like, you can turn the transcription into a beautiful “legacy book” — complete with photos and scanned images of handwritten letters, receipts, newspaper clippings, recipes, and other pieces of history — for yourself, your kids, and future generations.
Need inspiration? Listen to exquisite, vulnerable recordings of conversations between ordinary people (mothers, fathers, kids, friends) at the StoryCorps website.
Want more questions? Use TableTopics cards to spark conversation around the family dinner table.
Want some professional writing, editing, or design help? The folks at Echo Memoirs specialize in producing beautiful, professional-quality family legacy books.
All too often, parents pass away and we feel like we “never really knew them.” Don’t let that happen. Create the time to connect deeply, listen, and learn.
“Walk with me for a while, my friend — you in my shoes, I in yours — and then let us talk.” ?Richelle E. Goodrich
Sit, share a cup of tea with a loved one, and let the stories begin…