10/23/06

Mealtime Conversations










Are you reluctant to whip up a meal for friends because the conversation around the table doesn’t always go the way you’d like or are comfortable with? Just bring your kids into the mix and a couple of thought-provoking questions for the entire group and …Wah-Lah! You’ll have an entertaining evening on your hands!

Last night was a school night, but it was the only time we could squeeze in a meal with our really good friends whom we love to dine with. Since our families are growing now (4 adults, 6 children – ages 10 – 14) we had to add another table to the end of our dining table. It didn’t fit perfectly but that’s okay. Now you may be thinking … put the children in the other room – especially the teens! But we wanted to all be together.

The kids were starving (a few of them had played soccer that day) and they informed us that is was okay to put bread on your plate before prayer & everyone had sat down. Mmm … I’ll have to check with Emily Post on this one! I used a simple place setting of white dishes (my original wedding dishes 15+ yrs. old), cloth napkins (don’t need to be ironed) and fall leaves and candles in the middle of the table.

We offered up a prayer of thanksgiving, and then the interesting part of the evening began when my husband, Paul, asked the “intriguing” question for the evening. What adult person in your life (other than your parents) makes you feel good about yourself, and why? We went around the room and all 10 of us shared. It was both serious and funny, and it brought a tear to my eye to hear everyone’s response.

Then Paul asked, “what characteristics does this one person portray?” Many of the responses included humor, authenticity, and feeling genuinely cared for from this person, with wanting nothing in return!

Some comments last night were: he makes me laugh, she encourages me, she never puts me down, he tells me what I’m doing wrong, then gives me a second chance, she tells me that I’ve done a great job, she validates me, he listens to me, she buys me things (oops!), he comes down to my level and plays with me, she always includes me.

We are often shaped by the people who impact our lives. We are shaped by their wisdom.

Our kids felt valued by their parents last night. We wanted to hear what they had to say. Their opinions mattered to us. We wanted to know who was important to them. We ended our evening with an outside fire, laying on hammocks and staring into the embers, until we dozed off.

6 comments:

Barb said...

Luv the fire and the candles....
We always include our kids in company dinners. If they decide they want to go "play" afterward, then they can do that. Can you tell us some other intriguing questions your hubby's posed at company dinners?

Sandy said...

One question that comes to mind was "What is your middle name and how did you get that name?" That was interesting!

Barb said...

Ah, that one would be easy to answer! Got my middle name from my parents (!), who stole it from a great-grandma. Tho she didn't seem to mind cuz I was a cute little baby then...

Sharilyn said...

Thanks for sharing your tomato recipe. Your blog was excellent. Enjoyed reading about your happy, eventful life.

ted said...

Hello......It's a privilage for my family and myself to share your blog land.....but more importantly we enjoy your great food and wonderful family!

Sandy E said...

I just love your insights and suggestions for having people over. My husband works long hours selling and wants quiet at home.He feels that he has to BE entertaining, I tell him just be yourself,if you are tired,let them talk,get to know the people. We do not have to have fancy meals just spend time. I always stress about what to have, is it enough,can I make it good. He prefers to DO something like ride a motorcycle,play crochett,chess basketball. That is great too and we can include the kids now that they are older.Thanks for encouraging us to connect more.Im a helper,talking can be a challenge. Sandy E