At the dinner table at our house lots of things could happen…
Entire newly made pitchers of juice spilled. Food accidentally landing on the floor. Heated “discussions”. Dogs on the table. Kids on the table… You name it, its probably happened at our house. Yes, we have had the occasional food fight. Not an all out battle, but food has flown through the air at the table.
But what consistently happens is life. Discussions. Talking. Conversations. Sharing.
What I hear is that people don’t always do that anymore… We are so swamped with ways to communicate nowadays that we have a bit of trouble actually communicating. I have heard of classes in schools where people are taught how to communicate and read things like body language, facial expressions and the like. We don’t SEE people’s reactions anymore when we text or post something on facebook. We don’t hear tones in voices when we don’t talk to people in person or on the phone.
At the dinner table we do.
At our dinner table, we might have 2 people or 16. You just never know who is gonna be there. But we know its gonna be lively. We have had lots of people for Sunday morning breakfasts. The kids when they are all home and their friends. That is not generally very lively. That is pretty subdued… Funny to watch on my end as they slowly drink their coffee and wake up… Then the pancakes start flowing when our friend and favorite Sunday morning cook starts cooking, and then the conversations start….
Conversations… Yea that is a really funny topic in my mind… I can picture and almost hear the different conversations as they happen..
Sometimes the conversation is very one sided with one person leading, guiding and carrying the conversation.. All the other person can do is nod and grunt once in awhile.
Sometimes the conversation is very loud with everybody talking about their own topics and their own thoughts and their own issues and nobody is really listening. That can be very frustrating but is hysterical to listen to!!
Sometimes we can have a serious conversation and everybody is listening, stating their thoughts, and joining in. Those are thought provoking and interesting conversations.
You never know where the conversation will lead either. There are mostly boys at my table at any given time. That’s just what happens here. Generally the conversations are about cars, fixing cars, volkswagen cars, fast cars, slow cars, explosions, movie quotes from car or action movies, car parts, and occasionally football… Yea… We are definitely gearheads… If the girls are at the table we may hear about dogs, horses, shopping, people… But that doesn’t last long!!! We also talk about what God is doing in our lives, what we think about God and how God has taken care of us today, last week, last month. Many times the discussion turns to morality issues… What to do what not to do… No matter what the conversation started as, for whatever reason it triggers a discussion about some morality issue. Those are important talks to have and a key reason why its so important to talk together.
Most importantly, we laugh. A lot….
What can I say, we are funny people!!
These things are so important. Talking to each other about everything from sex to God to cars to addictions to using the internet well to bullying… It needs to be done in a way that is not uncomfortable and lays the groundwork for healthy living. It needs to be done in a natural non-confrontational way as much as possible.
The key is love.
Enjoy each other. Enjoy life together. We are family. The friends who hang out with us are temporarily part of our family and included in the love.
Love is what holds us together. Why we talk so much together. Why we hang out so much together…
Years ago as I began to be a parent of teen-agers, I was so intimidated and freaked out because of all the negative I had experienced and had heard about teens. I didn’t get it. It was so hard and awkward and well…. ugly. I have come to realize that teen-agers are a blast! They are funny people! Who knew??!! Yes they are going through a lot and are expected to be having sex everywhere and with anyone. Yes they are expected to be addicted to everything and anything.
They don’t have to be. Talk about those things at the dinner table. Lay down expectations and your thoughts. Explain where you are coming from and talk about sex and relationships. Explain and talk about what God says about healthy relationships. Talk about addictions and such. Yea they don’t always make the right choices…
Oh do I know that!!!
But they know exactly how you feel about what they have done and know what to expect as a consequence… . What is most important is that they know you will help them get through this particular issue. No, I will not rescue them. I will not let them out of the consequence. But I will walk with you as you deal with the consequences of your actions.
Talk. Enjoy life together. Find a way to have conversations with your kids. LOVE them.