So many people have mentioned this 2014 post to me over the intervening years that I wanted to bring it back for this Thanksgiving. Below is a list of 20 questions that, amazingly, have shown to make children more resilient to life’s stresses and to give them a stronger sense of control over their lives, higher self-esteem, and a belief their families were happier. Plus, it’s fun! 

  1. Do you know how your parents met?
  2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
  3. Do you know where your father grew up?
  4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
  5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
  6. Do you know where your parents were married?
  7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
  8. Do you know the source of your name?
  9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
  10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
  11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
  12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
  13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
  14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
  15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
  16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
  17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
  18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
  19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
  20. Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?

Officially known as the “Do You Know” test, families end up sharing stories of their ancestors’ success after a difficult start in this country (ascending family narratives) or, on the other hand, stories of losing everything in the Great Depression (descending family narratives). The most helpful stories are of the ups and downs of life (the oscillating narrative) because they demonstrate the ability to overcome hardships.

Way better than talking politics at the family gathering!