- When it comes to things that make you really happy, what five things would you rank at the very top?
- Suppose you were told that you could have one wish come true -- but the wish you make would have to be for someone else, not for yourself. What would you wish for, and for whom would you wish it?
- If you could have 100 of anything right now, what would you choose?
"Food for Family Thought" -- the parenting/faith formation aids -- comes on the flip side of each card. For the three examples above, the alternate side of the cards suggest:
- When asked what it would take to get to heaven, Jesus said, "Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and clothe the naked." That's what parents do each day. It's a paradox that our greatest happiness comes when we freely give of ourselves. Think about that the next time you're fixing supper or folding laundry.
- Empathy is a fundamental building block for all moral growth. Make it a family value to frequently consider how your behavior and choices affect others. When your child talks about other children's experiences, gently ask, "And how do you think he/she felt about that?" This will nurture your child's capacity for compassion.
- One task of parents is to help their children develop the skills of discernment -- that is, to make wise choices. This is better taught through example and be establishing limits than by coercion and criticism.
The opposite of 'bowling alone'
"The Meal Box" questions are such a painless way for parents to connect with their children, to enrich family-time, and to counteract the tendency for family members to do their own thing and go off into their own little worlds.
The younger ones may even forget about whose turn it is to play Wii. Teens may pull the iPod earphones out for a few minutes to chime in with their thoughts.
And, if you're empty nesters like my wife and I, you may find "The Meal Box" questions adding an engaging new feature into your day. Think about talking over dinner about "What is one seemingly impossible goal that you would like to see the world achieve during your lifetime?"
You may even skip watching "Wheel of Fortune" some nights to ponder questions like that! - bz
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