Dear Annie: Finding topics of conversation can often be difficult during long visits. Since “Grinding My Teeth” feels that this may be the last time she and her husband will visit with these in-laws, why not take this opportunity to encourage these people to talk about their lives?
When they arrive, ask the in-laws if they would be willing to talk about memories from their younger years. The internet is full of suggestions of questions that will stimulate memories, so do a bit of research and type up a sheet of questions, maybe 30 or so, enough to have a question for each day. Everyone who has lived on this planet for a number of years has many stories to tell.
Too often we never get around to asking the meaningful questions before it is too late. Writing this letter has inspired me to write up a sheet of questions I now wish I had readily available when my difficult mother-in-law would visit my family for 6 months at a time.
— Curious About Peoples’ Pasts
Dear Curious About Peoples’ Pasts: I love the suggestion of turning something that could seem like a chore into a learning experience. We are never too old to learn new things and in listening to peoples’ stories we can learn a great deal about them in the present. What a beautiful suggestion.