Maybe you’ve been there… an elaborate meal set out, the people you love and want to connect with seated around the table… and the conversation. just. isn’t. As soon as the food is eaten, everyone get’s up and leaves to go their own way to their own spaces. You’re left there with dishes to clean up wondering how the opportunity for meaningful connection slipped away unfulfilled, again.
Here is a conversation framework that focuses on three simple steps. It's repeatable and purposeful without feeling formulaic or forced. Best of all, it facilitates an ongoing conversation that celebrates achievements, deepens meaningful connections, and looks toward the future.
Ready to jump into the 3 step framework?
Step 1: Look Back
The first part of the conversation simply catches up on where everyone has been. Answers to simple questions, like:
“How was your day?”
”How is that cool project you’ve been working on going?”
The idea is that everyone gets to remember goals or cool things that have happened, and share achievements. This whole section is about celebration!
Step 2: Look Up
The next part of the conversation is all about connection. We call it “Look Up” because we want to connect with each other and God. This may be a quick lesson for younger kids or drawing questions for older ones. You will have to tailor to who is around your table. A great idea is conversation cards. You can find them anywhere. Here is a set that we really like, called I Am From: Cultural Conversation Cards. We just choose one section of cards to talk about. But whatever you choose, remember that this whole part of the dinner conversation is to connect deeply with each other.
Step 3: Look Forward
Ok, I have to admit, this is my favorite part of the conversation! This is where dreaming and planning comes in. We are all on a journey… or many journeys. We have 6 kids in our family, ages 8 - 17. The oldest is a senior in high school and is considering next steps. College? Film School? Gap year? The possibilities are endless… Our youngest is loves games and may grow up to be a football coach. But first we have to get through 3rd grade! The point is that we all have hopes and dreams. What better place to explore them than around the dinner table with the ones who know us and love us most? That’s what this step is all about… exploring next steps, whether they will come tomorrow like a math test or baseball practice … or a possible trip to Spain next summer. This is exciting stuff!
Wrap-Up and Challenge
There you have it! The “secret” framework to family dinner conversations that will keep loved ones coming to the table just as fast (well, not quite so fast :) ) as Base Camp Beef!
So, what are you going to do with this?
Regardless of what’s on the table (beef is best!), I hope you will give this a try the next time your family is gathered around the dinner table.