How much do you truly know about your parents?
You’ve heard the stories that your parents share repeatedly at family gatherings, and the hardships they endured growing up (which they only told you to get you to stop complaining about your life). But how much do you know about their childhood, high school days, and young adulthood? Talking to your parents about their struggles and successes can be a great way to develop a deeper relationship and learn many valuable life lessons.
For young adults, many of life’s challenges haven’t been thrown at you yet. Some say the best way to learn how to deal with them is through experience—but listening to others’ stories is a close second. And no one is going to be more honest with you about their life experiences than your parents.
Here are a few things you should ask your parents next time you sit down with them:
1. What was the biggest challenge you had to face in your career path, and how did you overcome it?
Asking this question can give you some serious insight when it comes to choosing the right occupation for you, and it can help you make smarter decisions when it comes to whether or not you should take that promotion, relocate to a new city, switch industries or unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and start a new business. Of course, the ultimate decision comes down to you, but it can help to refer back to your parent’s experiences for some guidance.
2. What was your most memorable travel experience?
Learning about your parent’s adventures can show you the importance of experiencing different cultures and exploring new places. Your parents may share what they learned about themselves and what new skills they developed while travelling and facing new challenges. Hearing about their experiences can teach you to not fear uncertainty and inspire you to live your life a little on the edge.
3. What was your biggest success in your 20s?
Hearing about the successes of others is a huge source of motivation for all of us, and these stories are even more inspiring when they come from someone we’re close to. In times when life gets you down, you’ll think of your parents’ successes and get right back up.
4. Which events changed your life the most?
Knowing the turning points in your parents’ life allows you to learn from their mistakes and identify what is truly important before you end up learning it the hard way. It can also strengthen your relationship, as it gives you a deeper understanding of your parent’s values.
So, next time you talk to your parents, ask them these four questions. You’ll be surprised at what they’ll tell you when you’re willing to listen. Remember, your parents had a life before you, and it’s full of experiences you could learn from.