You might be able to explain to your grandparents how senior-friendly cordless phones work, but they have plenty of other things to teach you in turn. There is value in tradition, and the more you learn about your family through your grandparents, as well as about life in general, the better.
So, the next time the family gathers together for a special occasion, save yourself a spot next to your grandparents so that you can ask them about life and many other things they know so well.
What’s a favorite recipe that’s been passed from generation to generation?
Almost any family has such a thing as a favorite recipe. You surely know it. It is impossible not to have been visiting your grandparents without tasting it. Even more commonly, you probably have pleasant memories related to eating that food.
So a good question you can ask your grandparents is how to make that recipe that has been in your family for generations. There are always tricks, some simple, some more complicated, that make that particular recipe unique for your grandparents and not only them.
What are some illnesses you suffer from?
While this may sound a bit invasive, the truth is you need to know what diseases your grandparents have, as they will give you a good idea about what ailments could affect you later in life. This information is something you can act on, by taking precautions to limit the possibility of you falling ill.
What are some dreams that never came to fruition?
An important lesson in life you can learn from your grandparents is about unrealized dreams. Everyone has it, and this kind of thing could put things in perspective for you, as well. Some may be just simple wishes; some may be related to life choices that could have irreparably changed their trajectory. Learning from them about unrealized dreams will teach you something about yours, too.
What essential discoveries have you seen in your life?
It is easy for us today to take for granted all the new technological advances, and it may be hard to believe that there were times when people didn’t even have refrigerators. Ask your grandparents about such things, and you will learn some extraordinary tales taken directly from reality.
People have always lived and learned to get by, and that’s the lesson that you can learn from here. For instance, you can ask your grandparents what kind of things they did to entertain themselves, in an era without smartphones and social media.
What would you like most to be remembered for?
Everyone wants to leave behind a remarkable legacy, but what that could consist of is mostly related to accomplishments that are essential to grandparents and not to others. If you want to make them happy, ask them this question, as it will offer them to the opportunity to remember what they liked most to do during their active years and also a chance to feel good about that, too.
Are there any holiday traditions you used to hold in high esteem?
Times change, and with them, everything else. The way we celebrate Christmas, for instance, differs a lot from what people used to do half a century ago. Asking your parents about holiday traditions that are no longer in fashion will give you a glimpse of a time past in a way that is unique. You may even ask details about how to bring various traditions back to life.
When have you been the happiest in your life?
Another life question that will make your grandparents happy is this one. All people have moments in their lives when they felt the most joyous, and recounting those moments will make your grandparents relive those feelings. You might also be surprised to learn about their lives and what has made them happy over the years.
How were my parents like when they were my age?
You know your parents as they are now, but just like your grandparents, and you now, they were once your age. Learning about what they liked doing and how they were like. This kind of information will help you understand your parents better and maybe give you a glimpse into why they take certain decisions concerning you, and even why they are against letting you do certain things.
Where did you work, and how was it like?
Just like the question about technologies and how they influence our lives now, this one is fascinating and will give you a good glimpse into how life was decades ago. The chances are that your grandparents have been out from the workforce for at least ten years or even more, so their input regarding this question will surely surprise you.
Not having all the technological advancements we enjoy today at their disposal, they had to adapt and overcome daily challenges, even in their work. You will be impressed with what they did, and what ideas they came up with, only to face these everyday provocations without a problem.
What are our genealogical roots?
In many places, but particularly in the US, the ancestors for most people came from other parts of the world. With large communities of Italians, Germans, and so on, living in the US, there is no surprise if you learn that your ancestors came from abroad.
Maybe even your grandparents were the first to immigrate to the country where you all live now. If that’s the case, you can ask them about how their lives were before doing that. This is a great occasion to learn about a different culture, people, and countries.
What are some financial habits that helped you in your life?
There are many lessons for you to learn from your grandparents. Some of them are related to financial habits, and they can teach you about how to be more responsible with how you handle your money, as well. Don’t forget that your grandparents have a lot of things to teach you, and these are practical lessons you can learn from them.
Was there a pet or a favorite farm animal you cared for?
Another great opportunity for your grandparents to reminisce about some happy moments in their lives is asking them about their pets, or other favorite animals, in case they used to live on a farm. You will be entertained with some great stories that can easily rival with what you see today animals doing on YouTube videos.
Have you lived in different places?
You may know your grandparents living in a certain town, city, or neighborhood. But they might not have lived there all their lives. Learn about the different places where they lived and what challenges they had to face when moving from one to another.
How can you make friends for life?
Don’t forget that your grandparents lived in a time where making friends wasn’t anything like the virtual relationships that seem to mark the way we interact today. Here is another important lesson you can learn from them.
Your grandparents must have some close friends that they still visit and keep in touch with. Ask them what makes those people so unique, and this way, you may learn how to recognize some desirable traits in your future friends.
What are some of your plans for the future?
Even if they are old, your grandparents still have plenty of things to do and think about. This is an occasion for you to realize that being old doesn’t mean that you no longer have a life and things to look forward to.
You will find a lot of exciting things about your grandparents by asking them this question. And you will also get a good idea about what you can do when you are their age.