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8 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parent

8 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parent

    Photo credit: Rosie O'Beirne (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    We spend so much of our lives with our parents and yet most of it is devoted to routine and commonplace things.

    But we rarely discuss the profound.

    Time is short and unfortunately we are all getting older. There may never be a better time than now to have a meaningful conversation with your parent or parents.

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    You sometimes hear people say that they regret missed opportunities while their parents were alive and that there were things they wish they had spoken about. Make sure that you seize the chance while you can.

    Here are some good questions to ask your parent or parents:

    1. Can you tell me a story about your parents or grandparents?

    Family history is much more than a family tree and a photo album. It is also a collection of stories which become your family folklore. Be sure to have some stories about your ancestors that you can pass on to your descendants.

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    2. Can you tell me a story about when you were a child?

    Stories about their adventures, hopes, fears and relationships with friends and parents can be fascinating and revealing. Why not record them on video?

    3. Can you tell me a story about me as a child?

    Your parents will remember funny or embarrassing things about you as a little child. These will be handy when one day your child asks you question 2 above.

    4. What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with me?

    Your parents have a lifetime of experience and there are still things that you can learn from them. They may share something philosophical, funny or silly. Whatever it is it can pass into the family sayings and mythology.

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    5. What thing in your life made you the happiest or the proudest?

    Let’s talk about the good things in their lives; their achievements, joys and moments of pride. You may yourself feature there.

    6. What is your biggest regret? What would you have done differently?

    Perhaps this is a sad area that you would rather not explore but sometimes the answer can be revealing and explain things about your parents that you did not realise or understand.

    7. What event had the biggest impact on you?

    Perhaps it was something to do with a war or a disaster. What was it that made a big impression?  See if you can learn exactly how they felt and reacted at the time. It might put something you had only ever read about into the personal context of your parent.

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    8. What plans should we make for the future?

    Many people feel uncomfortable talking about future plans that include what happens after their parents pass. But these are important issues and it is better to broach them. Where will they live if they can no longer manage where they are? Is there a will? What do they want to do with the heirlooms? What sort of funeral would they want?

    The next time your see your aging parents don’t just talk about minor domestic matters. Try raising some of the big questions above and then listen carefully to their answers. You may be surprised at what you learn.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on February 13, 2019

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

    Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

    Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

    1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

    Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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    2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

    You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

    3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

    One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

    4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

    Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

    “There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

    5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

    happiness surrounding

      One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

      6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

      People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

      7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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      smile

        This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

        8. Happy people are passionate.

        Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

        9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

        Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

        10. Happy people live in the present.

        While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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        There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

        So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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