For the longest time, our family dinner conversation was…painfully boring, and not for a lack of trying. We ate dinner together as a family regularly, but we have young kids who were neither contributing to the conversation nor responding to unending questions: “How was your day?” “What did you work on?” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “What did you do in P.E.?” To be honest, my husband wasn’t a lot better: “Fine… Had a never-ending meeting for [acronym-laced-NASA-project].”
We wanted our family dinner time to be an experience of community. Sometimes fun and joyful. Sometimes serious. Often something in-between. Really, we just wanted more quality in our time together. And it just wasn’t happening.
- Can you relate? When it comes to cultivating quality conversations with your loved ones, what are your successes? What are your struggles?
When I shared my frustration about what felt like a missed-opportunity with my dear friend Heidi, she shared an approach to dinner-time conversation called “The Rose.” It is prayerful, it is diverse, it is easy to do, and it enriches the whole experience of dinner-time conversation. Did I mention it’s prayerful?
Heidi learned from Sara, who learned it from a family retreat… It is so simple and so powerful that I wrote about it in Chapter 10 “Prayer as Conversation,” in my new book Continuing the Journey. And it is in this rich tradition of passing on fantastic ideas that I share it with you.
“The Rose” is a loose adaptation of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen.
- Rose – the parts of your day that you are thankful for
- Bud – something you are looking forward to in the coming days or weeks
- Thorn – a difficult part of your day (that you might ask God’s help with)
- Root – someone or something you are hoping and praying for
We conclude our dinner-time conversation by saying, “Thank you for our rose, bless our bud, hear our root, and help us with our thorn.” (Continuing the Journey page 43)