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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 January 21, 2020

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

    Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

    So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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    1. Listen

    Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

    2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

    “Why do you want to do that?”

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    “What makes you so excited about it?”

    “How long has that been your dream?”

    You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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    3. Encourage

    This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

    4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

    After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

    5. Dream

    This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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    6. Ask How You Can Help

    Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

    7. Follow Up

    Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

    Final Thoughts

    By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

    Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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    Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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