My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” — Jim Valvano
With Father’s Day approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the male figures in our lives. Whether it’s a trip to the driving range or a game of chess, there are several ways to start a meaningful conversation with your dad.
From asking about his childhood experiences to his greatest accomplishments, these questions can help you understand a little more about the man who raised you. In doing so, you may bond over the simplest things.
As you prepare for Father’s Day, consider these six questions to foster meaningful conversation with your dad, grandfather, uncle—or any influential man in your life.
1. What family gatherings or traditions do you remember as a child?
Sometimes, we wonder how certain traditions came to be. By asking questions like this, you will understand a little more about your father’s personal upbringing. What did he like about these traditions? What didn’t he like? This question may also help explain your own family traditions, like how you celebrate holidays and birthdays.
2. What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
This question is simple, yet profound. It may be telling to compare his adjectives to yours. For example, ambitious, witty and successful are just a few adjectives you could use. Do they compare? If so, share why you think you chose similar adjectives. If a memory came to mind while forming your list, share it. If your adjectives don’t compare, share why you chose to describe him differently.
3. What was your favorite book or movie when you were my age?
An easy way to initiate conversation is by asking your dad what his favorite book or movie was. What genre did he prefer? Mystery? Western? Action and adventure? By asking this question, you will get a better understanding of your dad’s interests, which can fuel future conversations.
4. What do you enjoy most about being a dad?
This question will help your dad explain how he defines fatherhood. By asking this question, you’ll get a better understanding of how he views his role as a parent and what it means to him. This may bring up past memories of the two of you or your family. If you are also a father, ask yourself this question. What traits does your dad embody that you try to replicate?
5. What do you remember most about your dad?
Whether or not his father has passed, your dad will likely appreciate the opportunity to talk about the man who raised him. Try to take a positive approach when asking this question. For example, “What do you admire most about your father?” It’s important that you recognize and honor you grandfather. After all, they played an important role in shaping how they chose to raise you.
6. What did you want to be when you grew up?
As you get older, your dreams begin to change. When you were ten years old, maybe you dreamed of being a firefighter like your father. By asking your dad this question, you can get a better understanding of how his dreams changed over time. Perhaps, he had dreams of being an astronaut. This is a fun and easy question to ask with the whole family around.
Get to know your father figure on a deeper level this year. Download Busch's Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation for 25+ conversation staters and tips to engage in more thoughtful dialogue with loved ones.