Questions to Stimulate Priceless Conversations

Growing Up

Were you often into mischief as a child?  What kind?  How strict were your parents?

What were some of the house rules for behavior?

What chores were assigned to you? Did you receive any spending money? If so, what did you do with it?

What were your most vivid memories of your childhood?

What did you do during the summer when you were not in school?

Do you remember a time when you spent the night or days living at the home of friends or relatives?

What did you learn from the experience that may have changed the way you understand others.

What were some of your favorite toys?  Which ones do you wish you still had?

Were there any unusual events in your childhood ie. moving, storms, floods, fires, etc.?


School

What were the names of your schools and what do you remember about how they looked and felt?

How did you get to school?

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

What subject in school was always the easiest for you?

What was your least favorite subject in school and why?

Who was your favorite teacher and why were they special?

What school activities and sports did you participate in

Did you and your friends have a special hang-out where you liked to spend time?

Were you ever given any special awards for your studies or school activities?


Relatives

Do you remember hearing your grandparents describe their lives? What did they say?

Do you remember your great-grandparents? What do you know about them?

Who was the oldest person you can remember in your family as a child? What do you remember about them?

Please share some memories of your mother.

Please share some memories of your father.

Please share some memories of your siblings.

Please share one memory of your mother’s parents. ?aunts, uncles or cousins?


Family Life

Was there a chore you really hated doing as a child?

What kind of house did you live in when you were a child?

Do you remember your family discussing world events and politics?

Do you ever remember not having enough food to eat because times were hard for your family?

Do you remember your first date? Describe the circumstances.

Name a good friend that you have known for the longest period of time? How many years have you been friends?

Has there ever been anyone in your life that you would consider to me your kindred spirit or soul mate?

If so, who were they and why did you feel a special bond to them?

How did you meet the person that you would later marry? Describe them?

Finding your Mate / Spouse & Living Together / Being Married

Do you remember where you went on the first date with your spouse?

How long did you know them before you got married?

Describe your wedding proposal.

When and where did you get married?

Describe your wedding ceremony. Who was there?

Did you have a honeymoon? If so, where did you go?

How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?

What wise advice would you give to a grandchild on their wedding day?

How did you meet your spouse? Tell me about your courtship, proposal, and engagement.


Parenthood

Do you remember anything that your children did when they were small that really amazed you?

What is one of the most unusual things that one of your children did regularly when they were small?

In what ways did you spoil any of your children?

In what ways were you a strict or lenient parent?

In what ways do you treat each of your children differently?

How did you decide what to name each child?


Grandparenthood

How did you first hear that you were a grandparent and how did you feel about it?

What advice do you have for your children and grandchildren?

Your Work & Career Journey

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

What was your first job?

What kinds of jobs have you had?

How did you decide on or come to your career?

What did you think about the money you were earning?

How long did you have to work each day at your jobs?


Making Your Way Through Life

What were the some hard choices that you had to make? Do you feel like you made the right choices?

Who had a positive influence on your life? Who were they and what did they do?

Is there a person that really changed the course of your life by something that they did?

Who were they and what did they do?

Do you remember someone saying something to you that had a big impact on how you lived your life?

What was it?

How would you describe yourself politically, socially and economically?

As you see it, what are the biggest problems that face our nation and how do you think they could be solved?

What wars have been fought during your lifetime? How did you feel about them?

If you served in the military, when and where did you serve and what were your duties?

If you served in the military, were you ever injured in the line of duty?


Religious, Political, Social & Economic Preferences

Did you attend a church? Where was the church? What was it like?

Why do you belong to the congregation that you attend?  How did you get started there?

How do you live differently because of your religious beliefs or participation?

Tell me about your religious  / spiritual beliefs in as much detail as you can?

What religion do you call yourself?  What do you do or believe that makes you that religion Vs. others?

How do you define or describe the God that you believe in?


Politics

How do you describe your political outlook?

How have your political views affected your immediate or extended family?

Are your social and economic views in alignment with your political party identity?


Reflections on Your Life

Have you felt a calling during your life toward a different profession or way of life?

What wise advice would you give to a grandchild on their wedding day?

What accomplishments are you the most proud of?


Life in the Military

If you served in the military, when and where did you serve and what were your duties?

How did your military experiences change you?

During your service, can you recall times when you were afraid or in danger?

What are your strongest memories from your time in the military?

What lessons did you learn from this time in your life?

Do you still have nightmares from things you saw or did in wartime?

Are there people you still miss and grieve for from your war experiences?


Remembering a Loved One

Tell me about _____.

What is your first memory of _____?

What is a treasured memory of _____?

Are you comfortable/ can you talk about _____’s death? How did _____ die?

What has been the hardest thing about losing _____?


Follow-up questions to expand the conversation on any topic

Experiences

What did you learn from the experience?

What would you do differently now?

How did the experience affect you?

What was your first impression?

What concerned you about the situation?

What/who helped you accept/understand the situation?


People

What did or do you admire about him/her?

What fun secrets do you know about them?

What else do you remember about them?

Anything unusual you know about them?

What happened to them?


Things

What secrets do you know about it?

What happened to it?

How should it be taken care of?

What else can you tell me about it?

In what ways are they similar / different?