When I was growing up there weren't too many choices available to us in terms of conversation with our parents. No video games…no cell phones…no television in the kitchen…not too many distractions. SO a majority of us were stuck doing what should come as NATURAL among families – we simply opened up our mouths and started to talk. I can't remember ONE THING that I talked about with my mom, dad and sisters when I was growing up – why? Because the CONTENT of the conversation was not as important as the CONTEXT of the conversation…in other words, we were genuinely connecting in our relationships as a family. Despite the fact that our family went through a number of huge issues including alcoholism and mental disorders, we had a "glue" that kept us together. I believe that it was the conversations that provided the fabric of our relational connectedness even in the midst of hard times.
I see many families now…and frankly, I hear the same "bemoaning" going on:
"We never have time to talk"; "we don't know what to talk about"; "my kids are strangers to me"…and the list goes on and on.
Here's a couple of practical suggestions…first of all, set aside some boundaries on talking as a family. Yep, choices have to be made…television watching during meals, cell phone or Ipad addictions…they all will eventually obliterate your time together. You have to choose to set aside time with the family…you have to choose to make that connection a priority OR the stuff of life will dominate and you will not be able to have daily, vital or fabric-weaving connection time. So, here's the deal – turn off the tv, set aside the phones, etc. and have meals together. Sounds simple but I hear stories, day after day, about how complex family life is in the 21st century and how so many families "just don't have time." Well, MAKE TIME! Parents rule…you set the boundaries…you make the times work…my rule of thumb would be a MINIMUM of five dinners together per week. And in terms of conversation, I'm attaching a "family discussion guide" that I ripped off the internet for you to consider. A lot of parents I know (really, this is true) tell me, "I don't even know what to say to my kids." So, here's a downloadable guide for you! Another thing to consider, are TableTopics. They are available on Amazon and can really be helpful…
Anyway, I don't know what got me "off" on that topic today…but for what it is worth, I hope it is a helpful encouragement! Now, Vicky and I are headed off to have some dinner together…mmm, I wonder what I'll say?