Twenty Questions

The idea came softly, as spiritual promptings often do, when I thought of 20 good questions to ask my aging parents during my daily visits. I didn’t have a fancy recording method. I just scribbled their answers in a notebook and later typed them up. They were in their early nineties, still mentally alert, but declining rapidly in physical health. I didn’t realize then that within a few months their cognitive window would be closed. It was a delightful project—for them and for me—resulting in a binder of stories, counsel, and life lessons for their posterity.

Here are just a few questions I asked each of them separately:

  • In what ways are you like your mother? Your father?
  • What legacy would you like to carry on from your mother? Your father?
  • Describe an experience in your youth reflecting the beginnings of testimony of Christ.
  • What qualities first attracted you to Dad (to Mom), and what other merits of character have you come to discover in each other over the years?
  • Describe a trial in your life and what you learned from it.
  • You have been married almost 70 years. What counsel would you offer your descendants about the makings of a good marriage?


If your parents are living—try this idea. Make up your own questions. You might discover as I did, invaluable gems to treasure forever.


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