This is entertaining part of your discussion, and one the entire family will enjoy over dinner during the upcoming holidays.
Think about what your parents have lived through during their lifetime. Depending on their age, they may have lived during the Great Depression, World War 2 (and others), hurricanes, earthquakes, JFK’s assassination, and so on. Think of the beginning of motion pictures, television, the development of highway systems and commercial flying.
My daughter recently asked if my parents had heard the first reading of the War of the Worlds. She’d seen a documentary showing how many believed what they were hearing, and panicked, even evacuated. I wish I knew the answer to that. There are so many little random moments that if would be fun to hear about now. Silly or otherwise, wouldn’t you like to know? Did they watch Ed Sullivan? Have a favorite actor or singer? See Elvis or the Beatles on the “really big show.”
Ask them questions and write down their answers (or record them).
- How did your parents meet?
- How old were they?
- What was their favorite song?
- Did they go on a honeymoon?
- Did they like school? What class?
- What was their favorite book? Movie?
- What is their favorite meal?
- Favorite thing their mom (or dad) cooked for them?
- Where were they during the war?
- Did they serve in the military? Did they participate in another way?
- Were they in a hurricane, tornado, earthquake? What was it like?
- Ask about their hobbies and interests.
- Did you father like miniature trains? Sports?
- Does your mom knit, crochet, sew, craft? Is she the handy one in the family?
- Did they like camping? Did they have a favorite vacation?
- What did they do all day without electronic gadgets?
- What color were their parents eyes?
- What was it like when they were growing up.
Our children especially are surprised to hear of a life without computers, cell phones, even TV in some homes. Let them hear the descriptions, visualize how much time we spent playing outside, doing things together. Even if it it doesn’t spike your curiosity right now, there may come a time when it will. Your children may come to you asking. And they should know. I think we lose a lot of history as busy as we are today. Just think how many things we see as ordinary or necessary were luxuries back then.
You can come up with your own list. It may be surprising to hear some of the answers you get, and they will enjoy looking back on their lives. That’s something so important when they age, especially with Alzheimer’s. It will be important to you to have good things to look back on, to know they have lived a full life.