We recently started a new tradition at our dinner table.
First off, I should say that our dinner table is a little different than most people’s – no surprise there. We speak Spanish, English and Spanglish, changing back and forth from one to another as fast as a flying hot potato. And beyond our core family (the four of us), we usually have sitting with us one or two of the young adults (Gaby and Ana) who live with us and one or both of my in-laws.
All this makes for some interesting dynamics. With that many adults at the table I was noticing that the kids were getting lost in the shuffle so I looked for a way to draw them back in and let their little voices (with big thoughts and real feelings) be heard. Some friends had sent us down some conversation starters called Family Table Topics, and we decided to dig in and see how they went.
We began asking one or two thought-provoking questions each night…and magic happened. Suddenly each person’s voice was heard. I got to hear things from my girls’ hearts that I didn’t even know was in there. We all began to get to know each other more, hear each other’s stories and be encouraged to think about topics that were funny, fascinating and challenging.
We’ve been doing it for about a month now, and each night Macy runs over to the cube that holds the cards and excitedly brings it to the table. I watch Gaby and Ana’s eyes light up and I feel a bubble of excitement myself.
Because it feels good to be heard. It feels good when someone listens to your story. Your thoughts. Your feelings. Your passions. I grew up with parents who listened and who always let us know they cared about what we cared about. And I want my kids to grow up with that same knowing – that what matters to them matters to us.
My challenge to you? Listen to someone today. Ask questions that matter. You’ll be surprised at what you discover. And the person you listen to will come alive at the attention.
Does your family have a dinner tradition?