Take Time Now to Get the Story

Do you ever wish you could spend a little more time with someone who’s gone?  Ask a few more questions?  If you can, spend some time on Father’s Day getting more information from your dad, stepdad, grandfather, uncle, or other father figure.  As I’ve said before, stories are important.

As I digitized my family photos, I saw another side of both my dad and my grandfather.  They were people before I knew them, with their hobbies, vacations, and personalities that came before “dad” and “grandpa” roles.  They wore clothes that fit another time, posed in front of vehicles that belong in museums today, and often showed sillier, younger sides of their personalities.

What kinds of questions should you ask?  Here are a few ideas:

  • What was a typical summer day like for you as a kid?
  • What was your favorite meal as a kid?
  • What was your first job?  Did you work there long?
  • Did you go to school dances or sporting events?
  • Where was your favorite place to vacation when you were young?
  • What did you like about the woman you asked to marry you?
  • How did you feel when you were expecting your first child?
  • Where was your favorite place to work?  Or didn’t you ever enjoy your job?
  • What kinds of pets have you had throughout your life?
  • What was your favorite car?

As conversation flows, keep asking questions.  Imagine you are hearing a story from the author who will provide answers to all your questions.  Be creative!

You can set aside specific time to talk to a person, or you can casually work questions into your regular conversation.  You can record them (audio or video) or jot notes down to write up later.  The important thing is to ask!

And, of course, photographs make perfect prompts for your conversation.  Dig out those old pictures and see how many questions you now have to ask your subject.  You never know what might surprise you in those old albums.


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