This morning while finishing my coffee, I was admiring the farm house table that Brad built me 5 years ago. It got me thinking about different times we have gathered and the conversations around this kitchen table. What do your conversations sound like? What new discoveries do you learn about? I can remember when Cameron was around 8 years old and we started to play a game called, High & Low Game around the dinner table. You shared 2 highlights of your day and one low moment. We did this so we can really understand how his days really were going and turn small talk into meaningful conversations. The struggle is real with adolescent boys.
Over the years , this has helped open our communication around our dinner table (or anywhere) and believe most topics can always be discussed. Even difficult subjects. Most recently, Cam and I shared our reviews over a Netflix series that has some pretty tough situations that evolve around mental health and suicide. At first, my reaction in my mind was, “What the hell is he doing watching this?” But then I realized this gave me an opportunity to talk openly about mental health and how these are real struggles with friends and peers at his school. Out of the blue during that conversation, Cam shared, “You never know what battle they may be fighting inside so you should always be aware of this and friendly to them.” It was a perfect reminder to mention how critical it is for us to reach out and check in on friends. If nothing else to let them know that we are here and that they are not alone.
Brad and I have always raised Cameron to speak and ask questions. Sometimes giving him this freedom has us both almost choking on our food or holding in our laughs but I believe this has made him more compassion and understanding to so many. And now with him becoming a young man, it’s even more important to keep that open dialogue with him especially in the world we live in today.
My kitchen table is always a busy place for more than just good meals and birthdays. It’s also, a work place for Cody during his tireless therapy weeks of ABA. He spends a lot of time at this table and I have many successes that have happened here. Some of his first words, writing his name or letters, reading, setting goals, completing work independent tasks, solving puzzles, countless hugs and trying all kinds of new foods.
It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from those who join me around this table. Whether it be my family, therapists or friends. I learn how little I really know. I learn how vast the world is. I learn how wide-open people’s hearts are. How much suffering there is. How many creative and inspiring ideas are out there bubbling in people’s minds.
So this takes me back to the beginning when I asked, “What do your conversations sound like around the dinner table? What new discoveries do you learn about?”