If you moved away from where you grew up or just grew apart from your parents but have chosen to take care of them in the winter of their lives, you may wish to “get reacquainted.” You may find yourself fascinated with their life lessons and want to share more about your life experiences with them, too. But maybe you just don’t know how. If so, you’re not alone.
How can you begin to do that? Here are some great “conversation starters” that often lead to re-bonding with aging parents during the POPcycle, the time in life when you care for those who cared for you. Find the right time and place, sit down with a cup of tea and an open mind and share some of these:
1. What individuals have most influenced your life? And how did they do that?
2. What was the best vacation you ever took? What made it special?
3. What are your best early memories?
4. When you were a child, what did you do for fun? Do you still like doing that?
5. What brings you your greatest pleasures in life?
6. Who were your closest friends at different points in your life and what did you learn from them?
7. What was school like for you? What kinds of things do you still enjoy learning about?
8. What have you always wanted to do and still not done yet? Can we do that now?
9. What is the best piece of advice you ever received? From whom? Did you follow it? What happened?
10. What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in life? Why were they so important to you?
The most important thing to know about re-bonding is that when you have the intention to do so, you’re well on your way. The time you’re now spending with your family can provide both generations an excellent opportunity to re-kindle important ties with each other. Getting to know who you all are now, what kind of lives you’ve lead, what you care — particularly since you moved away or got busy being “an adult” — can be very healing. Taking the time to get to know your aging parents, and sharing yourself with them, will give you better insight into who your parents are and who you are as well as allow you all to feel closer to each other during this special, never-to-be returned to stage of life.