End of Life PlanningResources

How to Connect with Your Parents using “36 questions to fall in love”

So many families are disappointed after the matriarch or patriarch of the family passes away, because they wish they would have captured more of their legacy through stories. Although it can be hard to think about losing your parents or grandparents, you’ll be more disappointed if you don’t take the time to capture their history while they’re still here, and the process of sharing stories can help you grow closer to your parents. Learn more about how to connect with your parents by sharing stories and building your legacy together in this helpful guide.

5 Tips to Capturing Your Parent’s Legacy

When parents get older, it’s very important that you connect with them and start sharing their legacy. It will allow you to capture moments in time that might never happen again. Here are 5 tips for capturing your parent’s legacy: 1) Collect sentimental items, documents, and photos; 2) Organize the items that you want to preserve; 3) Set up an interview; 4) Create scrapbooks; 5) Record videos (this can be in conjunction with #3). These simple activities can help you create wonderful memories of your parent’s life for future generations to enjoy.

There are a variety of tools available today to organize and preserve photos, digitize sentimental items and documents, and record your loved ones’ stories, but the most important piece is to get your parents talking about their memories and stories, preserving their personal history and legacy while they’re still around to share it.

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Using “36 Questions to Fall in Love” to Create Bonding Moments with Your Parents

There’s a study, leveraged to become one of the most popular Modern Love stories of all time, that was done by psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that asked whether or not you can accelerate the process of intimacy between two strangers, by having them ask a specific series of personal questions. In the original study, two of the participants fell in love and got married within six months. The Modern Love writer and her date similarly fell in love after answering the 36 questions on their first date.

It’s unlikely that your parents are strangers to you (especially if you’re reading this blog) but creating loving relationships is especially valuable between aging parents and their children. The close bond that answering these questions can create will create a safe, intimate environment where you each know more about one another, and if you record it (via video, audio, or just transcribing the answers) then you’ll have captured a myriad of important pieces of their life story and their legacy in a single interview.

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

The New York Times recorded three senior couples answering the 36 questions, and it makes for touching, heartwarming watching. For many families, having a preset list of questions to ask in a session meant to capture your parents’ legacy and stories is already valuable– but knowing that these specific questions, asked in sequence, have been shown to increase love and connection makes the process even more valuable. Maybe your family has struggled to find those close bonds over the years, and that’s okay– remember, these questions were used in a study between true strangers, and at least two of them fell in love afterwards. That said, if you decide to use these questions, make sure that everyone involved understands what’s happening and why, and create a safe space to ask and answer these questions.

Protecting and Honoring Their Legacy

The best way you can honor your parents’ legacy is by learning about their history and finding ways to preserve it. By connecting with them, and organizing and preserving their sentimental items and stories, you can learn more about their history and share that information with your children—as well as potential future generations.

Make sure that however your families’ treasured memories and stories are preserved, especially in this digital world, the accounts are captured (including login credentials) securely. There are far too many horror stories about loved ones and surviving spouses being locked out of iCloud, Google, and other online accounts, with little to no recourse to recover the cherished memories and stories. Easeenet offers an easy way to organize and store login credentials, documents, and other critical life details in a single interface, and effortlessly transfer it to loved ones if anything happens.


Erin McCune