Family dinner conversations can often be pretty shallow and go something like this – Parent: “How was school?”. Child: “Good”. What did you do: “Nothing”. Parent: “Did you learn anything interest”. Child: “Nope”. Does that sound familiar?
On the flip side, it’s difficult to relate our work day to a child. Phone calls, spreadsheets, serving customers, researching a question, building a product are of little interests to kids. There is a gap between their world and ours, yet we need to find a way to bridge the gap and begin to transition them from a child’s world to an adult world. Consider these ideas for family table talk to deepen your conversations:
- Explain what you learned during your personal Bible study, but bring it down to their level. This not only leads to good discussion, but provides them an example of the spiritual disciple and shows them what God is doing in your life
- Discuss a catechism question. Work through a section of the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Children’s Catechism. Most will have footnotes to reference the Bible version that support the provided answer
- Talk through a Proverb that a child could relate to and apply it to something in their life. Consider Proverbs 1:10 and how they should resist those who tempt them to disobey God. Here’s a list of Proverbs to teach children
- Pick a news topic for them to consider. For example, the persecution of Christians in Sudan in relationship to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:10. This will vary significantly based on age where abortion can be discussed with older children, while a local robbery may be more at the level of younger kids
- Challenge them with an ethical question you or a colleague encountered at work. Lay out the situation that you faced (e.g., a temptation to lie, a request to cheat, an unfair decision) and let them explain how they’d respond to it. Then talk through what you did and the Biblical basis for your approach
- Similarly, you could present a ‘sticky situation’ that they may face. There are many of these dilemma such as the temptation to join in on making fun of someone at school or cheat on a test. A good book to help you with this is by Betsy Schmitt
- Take a historical event and discuss its significance. It could be related to a particular day of the year (e.g., the start of World War 2) or something that you’re generally familiar with
Make meal time significant through table talk that glorifies God and builds up your family to better honor and serve Him.