How much do you know about your grandparents? And how much do your kids know about theirs? Do you know how they first met, or what shenanigans they got up to when they were kids themselves? Or what you have in common besides shared blood ties and perhaps your eyes or nose? Grandparents Day falls on 22 November this year. Take the opportunity to deepen your bonds with your Ah Gong and Ah Ma. Unearth treasure troves of memories while creating heartwarming new ones. Of course, everyone has different life experiences, but these generic questions to ask your grandparents will help get the ball rolling.
1. What do you remember about your own parents and grandparents?
Not everyone is lucky enough to know their great-grandparents. Why not learn more about your lineage? It’s not just about DNA. Also, hearing your grandparents talk about theirs can be a fascinating exercise. Don’t let them get away with “I can’t remember”!
2. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Find out about their childhood ambitions and ideals, and if they fulfilled those dreams. It could be cute and eye-opening at the same time. It might even inspire you and your kids to chase after your own.
3. Do you remember your first kiss? Was it with Grandpa/Grandma?
They might be too shy to share, or it might evoke a cheeky grin. But it’s one way to get your grandparents to tell you what they think of ‘young people’ today. When it comes to topics such as premarital sex, some older folks can be surprisingly open-minded!
4. What was it about Grandma/Grandpa that you fell in love with?
Was it her demure smile or his floppy hair? Romance is a beautiful thing that transcends generations. Learn how one courted the other, and what happened on their first date. Did Grandpa propose on one knee? Did Grandma cry?
5. Would you rather have gone out to work than stay home and look after the kids?
(This one’s for the grandmas, if she was a housewife — the modern stay-at-home mum.) Mothers often willingly make sacrifices for the sake of their brood. What did your grandmother give up for her family? Looking back now, would she have chosen differently if she could start over? What career path would she have taken?
6. What were the happiest and saddest days of your life so far?
Everyone has these, and your grandparents have surely lived through their fair share. (Gently) urge them to tell you more. Let their highs brighten your day, and their lows make yours seem a little less significant.
7. Would you rather be poor and happy or rich and miserable? Why?
There are endless possible “Would you rather…” questions you could ask your grandparents, but this is a classic. It’s a good place to start when trying to find out more about their principles and beliefs, and whether they align with yours.
8. What kind of parents were you when your children were young? Did you scold, beat, and cane them when they were naughty?
Many grandparents love to spoil their grandkids, pampering them with treats, and letting them get away with ‘murder’. Or perhaps they’re grumpy and fierce. You might be surprised to find out that they were completely different as parents.
9. What was my Dad/Mum like when they were little?
You see your parents one way, but their parents see them from a different perspective. They can share how your parents were as kids or what challenges they faced growing up. It can offer you unique insight into your own relationship with them today.
10. Is blood truly thicker than water?
This simple cliché of a question might offer you insight into their intellectual views on life. Or it may even open the door to hidden skeletons in the family closet! Who knows what you might learn when you get Grandpa/Grandma talking?
11. What is your secret to a long and happy life (together)?
They say old people are wise. Tap into that well of wisdom and discover what makes your grandparents happy, as individuals and as a married couple. Do let us in on any golden nuggets they have to share!
12. If you could change anything in the world today, what would it be?
How do they envision a perfect world? Do they hope for world peace and the reversal of climate change? Perhaps they are nostalgic for the simpler times of their youth, where neither iPhones nor COVID-19 preoccupy our life.
13. Singapore celebrated its first Grandparents Day in 1979. How old were you then, and what was life like?
Jog their memory on everything from shopping and dining to partying and entertainment. What was in fashion? With no mobile phones, how did people meet up? What were buses and schools like? Did they go on family vacations overseas? Compare, contrast, and have fun!
Grandparents Day falls on the fourth Sunday in November every year. It’s not quite as commonly celebrated as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but we think it should be. After all, none of us would exist without Grandpas and Grandmas, and they love us and our kids so much. This Grandparents Day, take time out to show them how precious they are to you too.
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