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I just returned from a trip to Eastern Europe to locate my grandfather’s birthplace. That’s what it took to verify that the location printed on an old photo, now Kosice, Slovakia, is where his parents lived. How I wish I had asked my parents and grandparents questions about their youth while they were still alive. Such as, what was the name of that town where you grew up? Kids can learn a lot about relationships and knowing right from wrong by having conversations with family members about their life experiences. Of course, listening to mom or Gramps go on and on telling stories may be the last thing they want to do, but if you can stimulate the kids to ask their own questions, it could be a meaningful experience for everyone. So here’s a suggestion for Father’s Day. These are some questions the kids might want to ask Dad or Gramps:

1. What did you have as a child that kids don’t have today?

2. Has anything ever happened at a family wedding that you’ll never forget?

3. Which family member was your greatest coach when you were growing up? Why?

4. What was your favorite book or movie when you were my age?

5. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child? How did you deal with it?

6. What is your favorite family story that your parents or grandparents told you?

7. What are your best memories of family gatherings as a child?

8. What is the most embarrassing thing your mother or father ever did?

9. What is your favorite childhood food?

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10. Did your parent or grandparent ever lose a job? What did he or she do?

11. What is your fondest memory of your childhood?

12. What did your grandparents do with you that you loved or didn’t like?

Oh, yeah, and what was the name of that town where you grew up? Your kids may enjoy this enough to write about it or to record an oral history for future generations. The questions are adapted with permission, from the writing of Dr. Christine Carter, RaisingHappiness.com.

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Lenore Hirsch is a retired school principal living in Napa. Send questions to lenorehirsch@att.net. Please include your child’s age or grade.

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