Change Up Thanksgiving Table Talk

The whole family is together on Thanksgiving, so creating deeper connections is an important part of the day.

Thanksgiving dinner constitutes a lot of different scenarios: small groups, large group, in-home, at a restaurant, in-laws, out-laws, no laws. The questions posed to each other can change according to the dynamics of the people around the table.

What do we hope to gain from asking and answering certain questions of each other? Closeness.

We often say there’s strength in numbers; I believe there’s strength in knowledge. Around the table this Thanksgiving decide ahead of time what outcome you’d like to achieve as you pass questions randomly around to your guests or even write one unique question for each guest’s individual name card.

How Well Do Others See Me? (especially my child)

Let’s start with our children. Earlier this year there was a popular post on Facebook encouraging a parent to sit down with their child and ask them 14 specific questions, and then repost the answers along with the child’s name and age.

So instead of the parent asking questions to the child about that child, the parent asks questions to the child about that parent.

The answers were tender and endearing. Here are some of the questions

  • What is something I always say to you?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What makes me sad?
  • How do I make you laugh?
  • What is your favorite thing about our relationship?
  • What am I really good at?
  • What is something I’m NOT good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing with me?

This is a great way to see how your child views you and their world. My friend did this exercise with her 8-year-old daughter, Mary. And in the course of the answers Mary said to her mom, “you always yell at me.” My friend was flabbergasted and said, “Honey, when do I ever yell at you?” And Mary shouted, “Get in the car!!!!”

Our children offer us their awareness, innocence and optimism.

How Well Do I See Others? (especially my partner)

This is especially for married couples at the table. Life changes us and we have to stay current with the latest version of our partner and family with all their many updates! The more you know about your partner’s inner world the more profound and rewarding your relationship will be.

Here is a small sample of questions couples can try and answer for each other: (Kids at the table LOVE to hear couples talk about their marriage and answer questions similar to a dating game but more profound.)

  • What is one dream from my partner’s bucket list?
  • What is my partner’s favorite memory from our wedding?
  • What is my partner’s favorite website?
  • What is my partner’s favorite food/restaurant? Least?
  • What is my partner’s greatest ambition?
  • What is my partner’s greatest fear or worry?

How Open Am I To Being Known?

Since strength in relationships comes from better knowing each other write out thought-provoking questions for your guests:

  • What is one characteristic I’d most like to change about myself?
  • What do I think is the hardest thing about being a parent?
  • What quality do I wish I had more of?
  • What scares me the most and why?
  • When am I the most proud of who I am?
  • What is the one compliment I’ve never paid to someone in the room?

How Can I Help My Children Share More?

Children can pass and answer questions specific to them (and telling to others.)

Here are a few examples:

  • What is the hardest thing about being a kid?
  • What characteristics make me a good friend?
  • What do I remember about my first birthday or Christmas?
  • What could my family do to make the world a better place?
  • What do I most like about myself that isn’t about appearance?
  • What 3 things do I most value about my life?

What Can I Ask My Children?

I came across a great blog this year on social media entitled “We Ask Our Kids The Same 3 Questions Every Night.”

  • How were you brave today?
  • How were you kind today?
  • How did you fail today?

Let’s not save the questions just for Thanksgiving dinner but consider taking a note from this blogger. f you want your children to seek success with any consistency help them not be afraid to fail! Too often mistakes, missteps, and misjudgment lead to secrets and shame. Life is full of defeat but that doesn’t mean we’re defeated. It just means we’re not afraid to try something new. So cheer for your failures every night….sharing failures as a family set the individuals of that family up for success.