After a long weekend away with my kids and parents I’m feeling very grateful about the quality time we were able to spend together. One of my favorite conversations of the weekend occurred after the kids were asleep and I pulled out the “Grandparent Book” I’ve been working on with them for a few years now.
I bought this book to provide me with prompts that would help me learn more about my parent’s (and in-law’s) pasts and serve as a place to record their history. A place to record details such as their childhood memories, how they met, what their first home was like, favorite vacations they’ve taken together etc. I try to bring it along with me whenever I visit them and “interview” them. I’ve learned to keep some extra blank paper with the book as additional stories always evolve from the original questions! This interview approach has proven to be quite effective because 1) it actually gets done and 2) I’m able to ask for more details and capture additional stories and memories that are sparked by the original book questions.
It isn’t always easy to sit down and do this. It is certainly tempting to get lost on my computer or reading a good book late at night when on vacation. But I hauled this book in my suitcase with me. This time, I had written down some additional questions I wanted to ask them. I took these extra steps to be intentional because I know these conversations don’t always happen naturally. Fortunately, both sets of grandparents in our family are always willing to humor me and sit for awhile!
This past weekend I had 3 extra questions to ask them. I especially loved the conversation that followed these questions:
Grandparent Words of Wisdom
1. What is your best piece of advice on parenting that you would give to your grand kids?
2. What do you want to say to your grandchildren as they graduate from college?
3. What makes a happy marriage?
Wow, so happy I wrote down these answers. None of them were surprising, I’d heard most of it before, but now it is documented. Now there is a written record of a few of their beliefs and values. Perhaps having this intentional conversation will someday help my kids better understand the positive influence their grandparents had in our family. I know that I’m always so glad to hear more of their life stories.