#4 Give everyone an opportunity to speak. It is natural for the conversation at your house to be dominated by the talkative types. Depending on the age range and personality of your children, it may take a purposeful effort on your part to get everyone in on the discussion. Children need to know that their thoughts are a contribution and be encouraged to join in.
One of the ways we drew our children into the dialogue at our house was to ask specific questions around the dinner table. One of our favorites was, “What was the high point of your day?” Or, “What was the low point of your day?” These conversation starters were a direct window into the hearts of our children. We often took time at dinner for all the kids to share their highs and lows, but we also had the flexibility to focus on one child if the seriousness of what they shared warranted a longer discussion. This approach also encouraged siblings to respond to these ups and downs in ways that lifted up their brother or sister.
Another opportunity to join the conversation was when we read the Bible together in the evenings before bed. One year, we read selected chapters in the Old and New Testaments to get an overview of Scripture’s message. When we finished reading the chapter, we would ask, “How would you summarize this chapter in ten words or less?” Sometimes we opened the question to the whole family and sometimes we asked it of one child that we knew needed to be heard. Our family worship time became a time of discovery around God’s Word, not just a lecture from Dad.
Giving everyone an opportunity to speak; it opens a door to understand, pray with, and teach your children.