Bittersweet. That’s my word for October. There’s so much I love about this month: changing colors, fall breezes, bright blue skies, beautiful moonlight, football games (when Georgia wins), and all things pumpkin.
October also reminds me of loss, because it is the month when my first hero…my dear dad…was promoted to Heaven.
What I wouldn’t give for one more conversation and one more hug.
If you’re blessed to still have your aging parents, I hope you’ll give them a special hug from me. And I hope you’ll also take some time to benefit from their wisdom while you have the opportunity.
Several years before Dad died at 93, I realized how much I didn’t know about him. For most of my adult life, I’d lived hundreds of miles away. And while I visited regularly and stayed in touch, our conversations focused more about current life events and challenges.
So I became intentional about asking him one deeper question during our weekly phone conversations. I’d tee up next week’s topic at the end of our discussion so he could have time to reflect about the question over the coming week.
And wow, the things I learned! My dad was a humble man, much more prone to listen than to talk. But oh, did he have a lot to share when someone took the time to ask questions and then, to really listen to the answers.
Here is a sampling of the questions I posed:
What was the hardest decision you ever made?
What was the best advice you ever received?
What accomplishment brings you the greatest satisfaction?
What was the most fun you ever had?
What was the most challenging obstacle you had to overcome?
What was your greatest disappointment?
What life lessons did you learn from your father and mother?
Do you have any regrets?
Who did you respect the most during your career and why?
How has your faith sustained you?
Since my dad’s death in 2010, I’ve often reflected about those conversations and about the treasure trove of wisdom that was shared with me.
What an incredible inheritance. What priceless perspective. What a legacy.
If your parents are still living, please take the time to ask meaningful questions. Honor them by listening intently to the answers. Take notes. Keep a file.
You’ll be unlocking your own treasure chests. And you’ll be so glad you did.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12