How well do you know your dad? Play 20 questions on Father's Day
I grew up in a home with four sisters and no brothers. Our mom was the go-to for all questions, issues, problems and complaints. As we got older, it was she we begged to sit down for a minute and spend time with us. It was she we continued to turn to for guidance and information. My father was a strong presence and available to his kids, but like many men of his generation, didn't pursue a personal relationship with his young children. He took on the role of provider and disciplinarian, and let my mom handle the intimate stuff.
Our mother knew us best and in turn, we knew her best. I loved listening to her stories of her childhood in Brooklyn, to the details of her teenage years and as I got older, her experiences as a young mom. My mother was no mystery to me. She was my closest friend. I know many women my age have the same lopsided understanding of their parents, knowing their mom thoroughly, and understanding their dad only superficially.
Still today, with dads more involved than ever before, it is more likely a mom will share stories, talk about her fears and insecurities, and open up to her children.
This begs the question, how well do you know your father? This Father's Day, give your dad the gift of your ear and your time. Most people, especially as they get older, want to talk about their lives, their experiences and their hopes. Your father just doesn't know you care to hear. Having this information will help you understand your dad's opinions, attitudes and decisions. It will provide you with a new platform for your relationship, and you may just learn something about your self.
It is awkward to say, "Dad, tell me a little about yourself," and this will probably get you nowhere. Settle down with your dad this Sunday, with the beverage of your choice. Put your cell phones away – unless you are using to record the conversation -- and use these 20 questions as jumping off points to get to know your dad better. Even if you think you know the answer, ask again.
They start easy and get more intimate.
What year were you born?
Do you have a favorite band?
What's your favorite time of day? Why?
Who was your role model growing up? Who is your role model now?
What is your best childhood memory?
What is your worst childhood memory?
What was your father like when you were little?
What was your parents' relationship like?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What was your first job?
Who was your first girlfriend? What did you like about her?
Did you ever have your heart broken?
When did you realize you loved mom?
What are you most proud of? (Don't let him say his children.)
What is your greatest fear?
What is your biggest regret? What do you wish you had done differently?
Describe your perfect day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
What are your hopes for your future?
Are you happy?
You can also ask "Who is your favorite child?" but be prepared for honesty. While I am sure you scored some extra points simply caring about his life enough to ask, you may not like the answer. Father's are people too.