Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meal Time Conversation Saver

We eat the vast majority of our meals at home around the dinner table.  When the kids were little, they would tell us about what had happened at school, John would talk about his time at work, and I'd pipe in about what I had done that day. 


Now most of the children have left the nest, youngest daughter is home-schooled, and John works from home.  We are together all the time.  Two parents, one teen.  Mealtime conversations were starting to brew into little, predictable storms.  I might as well have changed, "Time to eat!" to "Come resume the argument!"

I mentioned on more than one occasion that I needed to come up with a jar of topics for us to discuss during meals, but I never seemed to remember to do it.  One day, daughter set the table, and I noticed a new addition.  I never dreamed she would embrace my suggestion of meal time conversation ideas! 

Sitting on the table was a remnant from my childhood:  The Family Question Jar.  My mom must have purchased it when faced with a similar situation with my siblings and I (though I don't ever remember dinnertime being anything but nice).  I do remember not really liking to answer the questions, though.  Somehow, though, the jar made its way into my home, and my daughter remembered that it was in the game closet.  



The Family Question Jar has transformed our mealtimes.  Yesterday, we wondered about how we would spend a million dollars, where we would want to go on vacation, and what we want to do when we grow up.  Who knows what questions today will bring?  

How do you channel meal conversations into positive interactions?


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Thanks for old-time solutions to current problems.  
 
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4 comments:

  1. For the fourteen years we homeschooled I struggled with dinner time conversations. I had been with children ALL day and I knew exactly what they had done and I was tired. Mostly I just wanted peace and quiet. We never got into a good habit of conversing. I always felt guilty when a General Conference speaker talked about wonderful dinnertime conversations about the gospel and life. When I had to go to work and the children were in school (and the older ones working) we just sort of chatted with each other catching up on things. I love your idea of conversation starters. I'm going to make us a jar or stack of cards or something to help us along. I feel bad that my failing may have passed on our bad habits to the older ones, but I still have two at home to finish. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Your daughter is very clever!

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  3. How clever!! When I was growing up it was mostly who could talk the loudest...
    Now, I mostly eat alone, sometimes joined by one of the cats. Very quiet meals therefore....
    Henk and I love to fantasize how to spend a big price like a million or more. We mostly do our best talking in the car...

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  4. What a great idea and a really fun thing to do with a grandchild, too! They can learn more about their grandparents and the grandparents can learn their interests, too!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!