This past Sunday, for reasons not important to this post, my family celebrated Thanksgiving early. I had read a recent blogpost from Michael Hyatt about maximizing conversations around the holiday table. I tried his suggestions and all agreed that it greatly enhanced our time together, so I share his insight with you, hoping it might add value to your conversations and relationships this Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Maybe it’s just my family, but as much as we love each other and have a great time together, there are occasional lulls in the conversation, awkward moments where no one has anything to say, and it’s tempting to turn on the TV and stare the afternoon away. On days like that, I leave with a feeling of slight emptiness, wishing I’d connected with my loved ones on a deeper level.
So, this Thanksgiving (remember, we did it early), I took Michael Hyatt’s advice. I prepared a list of questions, folded each one, and put them in a beautiful, timeless family heirloom.
(Not really. Just whatever I could find. In this case, old Tupperware.)
I passed around the container. “Please take a question. If you don’t like your question, you’re not stuck with it…try a different one.” (I didn’t want to be a Nazi about the whole thing.) “Then tell us your thoughts.”
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous that my cool nephews might think this was the ultimate nerdy activity. But I did it anyway, and I’m really glad I did! Here are the questions I used:
Tell us about an embarrassing moment.
When you think about the coming year, what are you most excited to see happen (or accomplish, or see others accomplish)?
When you look back on the last year, what are you most proud of?
What new capability do you want to develop in the next year?
What are the two biggest lessons you learned this past year?
If you had one million dollars to give to charity, how would you spend it?
Looking back over the past year, what are you most grateful for?
Choose someone here today and tell what you admire or appreciate about them.
Moving into the coming year, what would you like to do differently?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up…and how does that relate to what you do now?
What are your top three strengths…and how do they benefit others?
What is your favorite trait in other people?
The answers were hilarious, tender and affirming to others. Most of all, they brought us closer together…and kept the TV off. As I left, I felt I knew a little something more about my relatives that I didn’t know before. I laughed more. I felt more connected. I saw family members included that might not have felt included otherwise. Instead of awkward conversations, we had a blast!
Try these questions for your own holiday gathering. May it help bring your loved ones together and create a great memory for your family.
If you tried this, how did it go? What other questions would you add to increase connection among family?
I’d love to hear from you!
Blending music and humor, 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Connie Carey inspires her audiences to view their challenges from a renewed perspective, Her book, Falling UP, offers healing, hope and a touch of humor for hard times. For booking info, visit www.conniecarey.com.