Happy New Year
Every New Years we gather around the table for this annual discussion. The goal of this conversation starter is to open up the table for honesty and transparency. If you really want to know how your kids feel or what they are thinking, you are about to find out.
As a family this new year, what things should we start doing that we are not doing now?
This will tell you volumes about what they believe your family should be doing to become more like the family they want, envision or desire. We’ve had answers such as, “We want to go on family mission trips, camping, have family reunions, have movie nights,” and so on. Once we receive all their answers we encourage them for what they said, thank them, and write down their answers without any response.
Don’t be surprised by what they say. Some children will give answers that may define how a family looks to them because they have seen other families model certain behaviors or activities. One father told us that one of his children said she wanted to start having a family game night because she had a friend whose family did this on a regular basis. If you consider this deeply, it will begin to show you what your kids believe are healthy family activities. What they are really saying is that they have seen fruit or evidence in other families, and they want the same for their family as well. It is really good to listen and consider them as they metaphorically paint a picture of a healthy family.
As a family this new year, what things should we stop doing that we are doing now?
You are giving them permission to be honest and transparent about the family and about you as parents. This will be the beginning of great conversations you’ve been longing to have with your children. We have listed a few of the responses we’ve heard from other parents, some who were a little shocked, but they all said, “We were glad to get this out in the open.”
- “We wish our family would stop using degrading smack talk.”
- “I wish you both would get to know some of the other parents from my school.”
- “Dad, I would like for you to stop cussing.”
- “We wish you would stop smoking.”
- “We wish you would stop arguing.”
- “Dad, we wish you were home more.”
- “Mom, you’re always on your phone.”
Okay, I’m sure you get an idea of where this may go. The truth is, they’re already thinking it, and what you’ve done is allowed them to say what’s on their minds without responding to them immediately. Whatever you think you want to say, don’t! Let them talk—just listen.
As a family this new year, what things should we continue to do?
Here it is, the confirmation of what you’re doing well as parents and as a family. The reason it’s the last question is because it ends the conversation on a very positive note. Again, thank them, and let them know you value their honesty and transparency.
These are some of the responses our kids have given when we ask this question.
- We like having our extended family at our house for holidays.
- We want to continue to go camping.
- We want to continue to have this table topic discussion.
Let us encourage you. You may get to this question and all you hear is crickets. No one has anything to say. The good news is, you can have this conversation again next year. Be intentional to start some of the things your children desire and stop some of the things they don’t and this last question will become the longest list of all.
Make this New Year an intentional year of connecting with your family. Let FreshTake meals help take the stress out of dinner preparations.