Words of Hope: Mealtime Conversation

Our family created a ritual around mealtime conversation. This ritual refined through the years, but it emerged from my Dad’s quote he often used, “Great people talk about ideas, mediocre people talk about things, and small people talk about other people.” I was a small person when I was younger. I relished telling a story about how terrible a teacher was that day or how annoying someone was in the check-out line. Dad would patiently steer me to talk about what brings life— who was someone that blessed you today? What brought you joy today? What is something you learned today from God that makes you better? These elegant questions moved me out of small-minded thinking and into the expanse of beautiful truth, goodness, and gratitude messages. 

At our table, an elegant question begins the conversation. Someone answers the question first and then spotlights (says something encouraging about someone else), thus transferring the question to that person. They then answer the question and spotlight another person at the table—the last person to answer spotlights the first person to respond to complete the circle. We’ve had years and years now of meaningful mealtime conversations full of the deep questions of life as well as ample time to share love with each member of my family. I think back with joy on how often I had the opportunity to spotlight my Dad when he would come to dinner or hear him spotlight Shann and my daughters. 

This simple daily discipline has paid back a millionfold through a family united around beauty, a culture of gratitude, and a daily moment to show love for someone else. 

Thanks, Dad, for making each meal a reminder that eternity is now and God is with us.

“Avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it, will become more and more ungodly.” 2 Timothy 2:16