Here are five top questions that you should consider asking your loved ones when you interview them for their life story or their memories.
They are the type of questions that will produce an emotive response, so they’ll give you those what I call “goosebump moments”.
Q1: What are you most proud of?
The answer to this will vary depending on the person. Most often it’s related to their family.
They may be proud of their children’s achievements, or they may be proud of their own achievements. There is no right or wrong answer of course.
The question may need some coaxing for more modest people.
They may say “Oh I don’t have anything to be proud of!”
But everybody has achievements that they can be proud of in their lives, so give them a little bit of time to to share the answer to this question with you.
Q2: What would you say is the most important thing in life?
This one will get some really interesting answers, especially given recent times with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have a different view of life now, especially around what’s most important to us.
So take your time again with this question. Most people will enjoy sharing what what they really feel is important to them, and what they want to pass on to future generations. It is often something that they want to share from their heart, and that’s where you get some real gold nuggets and start to see the personality and true essence of your loved one coming through on the video.
When they’re starting to think more deeply about how they really feel about things, you want to capture those moments.
Q3: What advice would you give to a young person growing up today?
This is a really useful question to ask a grandparent or an older relative, because they often want to share what life was like for them growing up.
Often the advice that they would give to a younger person is related to how things were when they were growing up. For example they didn’t have mobile phones or the internet – so they may well say that the advice they would give is to spend less time on their phones. The advice might be to get out and enjoy nature more too.
The generation gap will sometimes come through clearly when you ask this question, so it’s a really good one to include.
Q4: What top values do you think are most important for people to have?
It’s important that we understand the values of our loved ones.
It can often inspire younger generations to want to have and keep those same values themselves.
It can also help them understand who they are and where they came from.
Common answers to this question include honesty, integrity and love.
When future generations watch the memoir video in years to come, they will no doubt be inspired by the values of their ancestors.
Q5: When have you felt the most joy?
This is one of those golden nugget questions that will bring a few goosebump moments potentially, and you’ll hear all sorts of lovely stories come through – so cherish the answer to this and don’t rush it.
Let them take their time with it, and you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful memories.
You can also follow up that question with “How did that joy make you feel?”
This will deepen their feelings and their explanation of how that joy felt, which is something to really treasure in the interview.
Saving those powerful heartfelt memories of the times they felt immense joy in their lives is a priceless gift to pass on.
Remember to thank them for sharing their story
When the interview is finished, don’t forget to thank your loved one for sharing their story with you.
It’s not always easy for people to share their stories. Sometimes it can be a healing experience, sometimes it can be a difficult experience – but they have allowed you to hear it. It’s a privilege to hear someone’s story and be able to share it with future generations, so always remember to thank them for opening up their hearts to you.
🔗Resources & Links
Free list of 30 life story interview questions:
My YouTube channel – Saving Family Memories (new videos are uploaded each fortnight):
📖 Books I recommend:
Your Story How to Write it so Others Will Want to Read it – by Joanne Felder
The Stories We Tell – Every Piece of your Story Matters – by Joanna Gaines
(These are affiliate links – so I receive a small commission from the seller at no additional cost to you)