Where did your parents grow up

Where did your parents grow up?

In this episode we’re going to be talking about where people grow up, how that impacts their relationships, and how to start the conversation. If you’re talking to someone who’s not your parent, you can be asking questions about where they grew up, what they liked about it, what they think was great and not so great about it. Additionally, you can ask if they living in the same place where their parents grew up. Knowing more about where a person came from and who they knew can help fill in missing gaps and highlight the whole picture of a person.

If you’re working with someone who’s in a care facility, or you’re volunteering, those are the types of questions you can ask and how you can frame them. Read on below the video to get more on what to ask and how to keep the conversation going.

Where someone’s parents grew up

The conversations around this can might cause some consternation for some people, depending on what their childhood was like. You’re going to get some responses of “my parents are dead” or just a “look”. There is that death and dying thing (you can find more on that here). You’ll get responses from people that might throw you off. And that’s okay. As always, I encourage you to redirect the conversation if you need to. Also, you can find another way to ask a question that doesn’t result in a yes or no answer.

Starting the Conversation

Starting with the basic question of where did your parents grow up?  This question applies if you are talking to your own parents to get their history, or talking to someone else that you’re working with. 

Then asking that person, if they live in the same town as they did growing up. I think what you’ll find, depending on where you are, is that many people aren’t growing up in or they aren’t living in the place that grew up.

Additionally, they are most likely not living in the same place their parents grew up. And that really, I think, is a regional phenomenon based on economics and shifting income sources. Maybe someday I’ll, you know, find the data to see what that looks like, at this point, it’s just a theory.

Follow up Questions

So the follow-up question for “Do you live in the same town as they did growing up” is asking “what is that like for you”. Then finding out how that feels for them. Because generally, if we have a couple of generations who’ve lived in the same place, they might have the same routines, they might visit the same stores, they might have some of the same friends. There are also sets of generational friends that develop over time, which is really cool.

When they say no

If for some reason if they say no, that they’re not in the same place, you can ask the following… 

  • Are you somewhere else? 
  • And then how did they get there if they’re not living in the same place where they grew up? Or where their parents grew up? 
  • How did they get there? 
  • What caused them to move? 
  • What was the deciding factor? Was it a person? Was it a job was it you know, any of those things?

So, that’s like a whole conversation in and of itself.

My Story

The reason why I wanted to bring this up is that I am not living in the same place I grew up. And I’m not living in either of the places where my parents grew up. So my dad was originally from Ireland, he was from Northern Ireland. My mom grew up in the northwest United States, in between Seattle and Portland.

So, I’m not living in either of those places and I grew up in Phoenix in Arizona. I was born in California, in San Francisco, and then we moved to Phoenix when I was like two and lived there. And now I live in basically Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Next Steps

I hope you use these prompts, use these questions with someone to help them tell their life story. If you haven’t yet checked out the book, check out the book. I would love to hear what you think of it. If you feel inspired to do so, a review would be amazing. 

Until I talk to you again, happy writing,

Gael

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