A few years ago while making dinner, my kids were in the family room talking, watching TV, and basically not helping me! Feeling like a victim, I thought to myself “Why is that room called the family room? I guess I’m not a part of the family, because I never get to sit in there.” I mulishly made the decision that I was going to create a new family room…one where I could ban the television, sit down and enjoy my family.
So I painted the dining room, bought the round table I wanted–telling Tim he was off the hook for a Mother’s Day gift–and lined the walls with pictures and symbols that meant something to the Thaynes. Now I had created something that fit my definition of a family room.
I discovered the book Around the Family Table By Ronda Coleman on Amazon. It just so happens it was exactly what I needed to morph into the “Fun Mom” I dream of being one day. Ronda Coleman struggled herself with getting seven children together for a meal. Once there, she found that their discussions were far from inspiring, meaningful, or thought provoking. So with the encouragement of her husband and daughters, she created a book of 365 mealtime conversations for parents and children.
- What would be the worst part of being innocent and in prison?
- Do you think this happens often?
- What was the first time you remember being away from home over-night.
- Was it fun or scary?
- What is waiting at the other end of your rainbow?
- You’ve been given the responsibility to name this year’s Person of the Year. Whom do you choose? Why?
Before giving my recommendation, I experimented and give my hearty approval. My kids fight over the book. We rarely get around the table on one question before someone else wants to read their question. This provides great fodder for etiquette training on how to listen politely. Everyone wants to be heard, and their faces light up when everyone’s eyes are on them.
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions, and they speak to young and old alike. I was amazed at the smarty-pants answers my youngest came up with. I was irked at the chauvinistic answers my older boys would give, till I realized they were just trying to get a rise out of me. We laughed, listened, and talked on subjects that we never would have plucked out of the air on our own.
It’s a tiny little book, and can fit easily into any centerpiece you have on the table today. Wouldn’t it be a fun gift to unwrap at your next meal together? Though it’s not the only way to come up with great conversation, it sure makes things simple on Mom. Plus, who doesn’t love the assignment to buy another book?!
Eat, Sleep, Read!