The conversation around the dinner table used to be a standard family event. Nowadays, we’re lucky if families are sitting down together for a meal. It’s a practice we need to recultivate. This time of dining and talking helps a family learn how to communicate and keeps them close. It can also be a time of sharing wisdom and guiding young hearts into adulthood. It helps build the next generation. If we want to truly make dinner time a time of learning, we, as adults, need to stop avoiding some topics. Here are five topics to stop avoiding at the dinner table to create impactful conversations with your Grands!
Five Topics to Create Impactful Conversations
Sex, politics, religion, money, and death.
Whether we avoid these topics out of embarrassment, fear, or fear of conflict, we need to get over it, have courage, and open up. Think about this:
Someone will teach your grandchildren about these issues.
Who should it be?
As grandparents, we are no longer the first line of teaching (unless raising Grands) but we can work closely together with parents and reinforce family values and ideals with regard to these matters. We can be sources of wisdom and trusted advice. Our Grands may not always appear to be engaged, but often the words are going in and being mulled over as they try to sort out their feelings on important topics. We must be patient, repeat solid lessons in careful ways, and watch for maturation as they grow.
We can create learning opportunities by carefully approaching sensitive issues, sharing multiple perspectives, and explaining why our family has chosen to believe as we do. Most importantly, we can answer questions honestly.
Encouraging Problem Solving and Teaching Values
We can encourage critical thinking and walk our Grands through hypothetical situations to arrive at natural conclusions. As a result, they learn to think through problems on their own by having examples and stories shared by someone they trust. Some families I’ve worked with have spoken about having children take turns in bringing a current event or news article to the table for family discussion. What a great way to create awareness of, and talk through, cultural, political, or social events. Meanwhile, we create a safe space for these young ones to come to us with their struggles and questions.
If it’s important for us to share family values with regard to tough topics like sex, politics, religion, money, and death, we need to be courageous and bold. We need to disregard our discomfort and fears in favor of educating young minds and hearts. Children face a world that is divided, changing at an alarming rate, and technologically different than anything in history. Our Grands need to learn as much as possible from people who love them unconditionally. We must brave the topics that once were shied away from to be a strong, positive influence. The 21st century demands that of us.
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