With summertime here and family gatherings more plentiful on the horizon, I have been thinking of ways to foster family bonding before, during, and after all of the wonderful gatherings that are most certainly happening these days. I came across a pin on Pinterest that I liked but wanted to tweak a bit. This idea tends to fall under the “scrapbooking” category if left as-is, but I think there is an excellent opportunity for multi-generational bonding if we take some time to think outside of the box. Why not take this “interview,” that is intended to snapshot a particular age and stage of a child, and create a bonding moment with it? Naturally, inputting the Q&A and a few pictures into a computer and creating a cute layout is an added bonus, but the real “meat” of the experiment is to open up some communication opportunities.
What if Grandma or Grandpa—or both!—created questions to ask their grandchildren? And then what if they called their grandchildren individually, or sat with them at the next visits, and just asked the questions? It doesn’t have to be formal, although some children might appreciate an serious let-me-ask-you-everything-about-yourself type of experience. Just talk. Write down their answers if possible, or at least as soon as you possibly can later on. Take a picture of the child and then a picture you and the child together. This would make for great “selfie” practice; just ask any child over the age of 18 months, they’ll teach you the art of it. This could be a chance to create wonderful dialogue for grandparents and grandchildren that hopefully will lead to some curiosity on the part of the children. Grandparents can even lead with a few things like, “You like video games? I wish I had something like that at your age. We just kicked a can and ran.” Even the most digitally savvy child will consider asking a follow-up question to that one! The point of the activity is nothing more or less than talking, bonding, and learning new things about each other. But, since we’re all genealogists here, recording it will just be a natural reflex for us. It will also serve as a great reminder of the experience a few years down the road.
So, what are you waiting for? Go find someone to interview!