Help me get to know my dad.
October 3, 2006 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Help me think of questions I can ask my dad to get to know him better.

When I was in college, I had to do a "mom project" where I was tasked to ask my mom questions about things people don't generally think to ask their moms and then write a report about it. (The questions where mostly about feminism and the women's movement.) I learned a lot about my mom doing that, and I'd like to do the same sort of thing with my dad.
posted by 10ch to Human Relations (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
What did you think when you first found out mum was pregnant with me? Though some people might not like the answer to that one.
posted by Gratishades at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2006

what is your first memory? what were you like as a child? do you think your teenage self would like your current self?
posted by sdn at 7:21 AM on October 3, 2006

"What did you really think, the first time you met Mom?"

My Dad came back to that, when I finally asked him, when I was 45 or so, with a simple, heartfelt recollection of how she looked up at him when he was introduced to her, and smiled, and he thought he would suffocate, before he remembered how to breathe again.
posted by paulsc at 7:21 AM on October 3, 2006 [5 favorites]

If you're interested in this kind of thing, I suggest that you read Steve Biddulph's book Manhood.
posted by teleskiving at 7:42 AM on October 3, 2006

If you don't know how your parents met, that's always a good one. How about asking him how he got along with his parents? Or what the worst trouble he ever got in was?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:42 AM on October 3, 2006

What was important to you when you were my age?
posted by squirrel at 7:53 AM on October 3, 2006

Best answer: Ask him about the first record he bought - the experience of buying it, of listening to it, everything. I find that, no matter how much in love people (grandparents, parents etc) are with their partners, before-marriage memories are held as being special (because maybe thet felt more innocent then? more carefree? more open to a wide range of possibilities? I don't know.) and people love to talk about them.
posted by bunglin jones at 7:56 AM on October 3, 2006

I sent my parents a copy of a book called Legacy, which is subtitled "A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History." When I was home for different holidays I sat down with each of them individually and worked through different parts of their lives. We didn't finish, but I got through a good section of each of their lives.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:08 AM on October 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ask him how he thought his life would look at 30, 40 and 50 when he was 18, 21 and 30. Ask him how he feels about that. Ask him what he regrets. Ask him what he is proudest of. Ask him what his most anxious moment in life was. Ask him about parties he and his friends had as teenagers or young adults. Ask him what his friends would say if you asked each of them to tell one defining story about him from his youth. Basically, talk to him like a friend you just met. He's a person, even though he's your dad.
posted by spicynuts at 9:05 AM on October 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Ask him about his own father (and mother).
posted by Good Brain at 9:37 AM on October 3, 2006

What was your father like? What did he do? Your mother?

What did you like to do as a kid?

Where did you live when you were a kid?

What kinds of jobs did you have?

Also, a material object can be a good trigger for memory and a way to get people talking. Old photos are great, but maps, family heirlooms and furniture, all kinds of stuff can work.
posted by LarryC at 11:08 AM on October 3, 2006

Ask about the first time he moved away from home. Whether it was the Armed Service, college, or marriage it could be a good jumping off point for finding out more about his early adulthood.
posted by saffry at 12:45 PM on October 3, 2006

"If money was no object, and success assured, what would you do with the rest of your life? How would you have answered this question when you were my age?"
posted by Invoke at 3:39 PM on October 3, 2006

get him to tell stories. What's the best thing that happened to you in high schoool, what's the best day you ever had? who was your best man and why? The Bernard Pivot questions that James Lipton uses are fun.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 AM on October 4, 2006

"What's your biggest regret?"
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:37 PM on October 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

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