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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

June 20, 2017 - 8:00am -- Anonymous

I hope that many of you were able to spend family time to celebrate Father’s Day last weekend.  Whether you are close enough to visit in person or utilize technology to talk, building and maintaining strong family relationships are important.  Last weekend my parents were able to come up and attend a cattle show that they have been involved in for many years.  Being able to see many friends and enjoy a meal together reminds me that sometimes life’s simple blessings are things I take for granted. 

Family relationships have changed through the years.  Distance separates many of us from our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family.  Sometimes when we do make time to talk, it’s about the current schedules, what’s going on this week or what the needs are for the week.  One of the assets that the Search Institute talks about is being connected with our family members.  It helps our children feel grounded and it helps us all feel like we are a part of a linage in history.  Families mold our values and traditions.  We may laugh like our aunt or have the story telling ability of our grandfather.  Or we may be ornery like our uncle and have talents like our grandmother.   Some of those things we won’t know if we don’t take time to ask the right questions and listen for the answers.  In this hurry up world, time is a precious commodity and unless we are intentional with our choices, it slips by.  Following are a few questions that I found to increase the depth of conversation either around the dinner table or on the phone the next time.  See if you can answer them or ask your parents and record the answers for your children:

What happy memory will you cherish forever?

Growing up, who inspired you the most?

If you had it to do all over again, would you pursue the same career path?

What were you like in high school?

What do you wish you had made more time for in life?

Is there a family tradition that you value most?

Do you have a favorite place that you’ve lived or visited?

Who in our family do I remind you of?

What values are most important to you to pass on?

Whether we are beginning a conversation or strengthening the relationships we have, remember that making time to talk is valuable.  If you are a grandparent reading this, tell your grandchildren the stories of your life and help them think about their own goals and dreams.  Model the values and tell them why they are important to you and how they influence your life.  

Strong families don’t just happen, the more time you spend together, the more opportunities you will have for sharing quality experiences.  Starting conversations when the children are young build a foundation for the challenging times ahead.  Nurturing those relationships through life allow a rich relationship with aging parents. 

For more information on Asset Building, check out the Search Institute at