Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine your mother and father. Think about what you love most about them. What traits do you admire and what have you learned from them? Are there any memories or idiosyncrasies that make you smile? Have you ever told your parents how you see them? Or have you shared your thoughts with other family? It’s one beautiful way to honor your parents.
Don’t you wish you could know more about your grandparents and great grandparents? When we asked people of varying ages what they’d want to know, they jumped at the chance with questions ranging from the basics of everyday life to the toughest decisions their relatives faced. Here’s a small sampling:
Did you know that for the first time there are more people in the United States over the age of 65 than under the age of 18? Isn’t that amazing? Just ask the people at Gen2Gen who are driven to realize the potential of older and younger generations working side-by-side for change. Intergenerational connections are good for everyone.
Picture this: a 17-year-old girl playing a weekly scrabble game with her 78-year-old grandfather. Or a 14-year-old making a different dessert every weekend with his 68-year-old neighbor and former bakery owner. Think about the kids in your life. Do they have these kinds of relationships with an older person?
Harry travels with his son and daughter to see the Cubs play in a different stadium every year. They’ve now been to 33 games and never missed a season. On Mother’s Day, Julie hikes with her parents and children, a ritual her grandmother started when Julie was six. Susan’s family plays Rummicubes after Thanksgiving dinner, a tradition she began as a way of keeping everyone engaged after a big meal. Seth and his friends go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, something many of them had done growing up.
Some traditions stretch across generations and others are just being started. Either way, clients oftentimes describe the twists they’ve incorporated to make these traditions their own.
Laura gave a Familial package to her father, Vince, for his 80th birthday and he was thrilled by what he created. Familial has been called "the greatest gift ever" by our clients. It’s an experience that makes for an extra special holiday, birthday or anniversary present and its impact ripples from parent to child to grandchild.
If you’ve ever watched the PBS series “Finding Your Roots”, you know how captivating it is. In each episode, host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. reveals family histories of his celebrity guests. His research team digs deep into their family trees uncovering inevitably surprising information about their ancestors that creates for them a new and emotional connection with their past.
Carole King finally understood why her grandmother was distant after she learned of her unbearable hardships for the first time. Bernie Sanders realized why his father never spoke about life before coming to America after hearing a horrific story about the uncle he never met. QuestLove first learned his ancestors were brought to the South as slaves even after slavery was abolished. And Larry David discovered that his great grandfather was a slave owner who fought in the Confederate Army -- none of which his family had ever mentioned.
Kate’s father visits regularly from out of town. Aside from giving up his weekly tennis game, he’s still healthy and active. Kate’s been meaning to record some of his stories, like the one about him enlisting in the navy against his parents’ wishes. She’d also like to know what he and his buddies have talked about for the past 30 years at weekly Tuesday breakfasts. But from the minute his plane lands, they’re swept up by birthday cake, lacrosse games and carpooling. So the questions go unanswered and the memories are unrecorded.
What’s your parent’s story? Read on for an easy way to start the conversation.