Category: Table Talk

The Habits of Supremely Happy People

Table Talk July 28, 2015

Before reviewing the following list in the link below, brainstorm with others around your table what you and they think the habits of supremely happy people are. Here’s one to get you started:

They nix the small talk for deeper conversation. Nothing wrong with shootin’ the you-know-what every now and then, but sitting down to talk about what makes you tick is a prime practice for feeling good about life. A study published in Psychological Science found that those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying — a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.

Review The Article: The Habits of Supremely Happy People by K A T E  B R A T S K E I R

Q: What is your intuition telling you about your current path? Is it telling you to go against the grain? Is it urging you to do something differently? It’s good to listen to the advice of others, but don’t forget to check in with your own intuition. If it leads you off the well worn path today, so be it.
 What do you appreciate about your life right now? As Socrates once said, “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” Do not waste all your happiness by overlooking everything you have for everything you wish you had.  If you do, you will never have enough.  Instead, appreciate the goodness that is already yours, and you will instantly find a lot more to smile about.
Q: What would you like to remember about today? Do something worth remembering. Try something new. Express your love. Live your truth. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards meaningful goals. Walk your talk. Embrace your gifts. Bounce to the beat of your own drum. Do whatever it takes to make everyday a good memory.
Q: What can you do tomorrow to make a positive difference in the lives around you? Being a genuinely good person, helping others, and leaving the world better than you found it is what a truly rich life is. Knowing deep down that you counted – that someone else’s life would not have been as well off without you in it – that’s priceless. That’s something worth working for.
Q: What is the most important thing you can do for your own well being? If you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of others either; which is why taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do. Every new day is a chance to change your life. Work on making life all that you want it to be. Work hard for what you believe, and keep your dreams big and your worries small.

The Intergenerational Self

Table Talk April 26, 2013

THE DO YOU KNOW SCALE, a measure developed by  D R .  M A R S H A L L   D U K E   and  D R .  R O B Y N   F I V U S H  of Emory University, is comprised of 20 questions seeking knowledge about family history. Children who score high on the DYK scale are associated with higher levels of self-esteem, an internal locus of control, better family functioning, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, and better chances for good outcomes if faced with educational or emotional/behavioral difficulties. The following questions test knowledge of things that children could not possibly have learned first hand but from others through stories, writings or other indirect resources.

  1. Do you know how your parents met? Y/N
  2. Do you know where your mother grew up? Y/N
  3. Do you know where your father grew up? Y/N
  4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up? Y/N
  5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met? Y/N
  6. Do you know where your parents were married? Y/N
  7. Do you know what went on when you were being born? Y/N
  8. Do you know the source of your name? Y/N
  9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being  born? Y/N
  10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like? Y/N
  11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like? Y/N
  12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger? Y/N
  13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences? Y/N
  14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school? Y/N
  15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)? Y/N
  16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young? Y/N
  17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young? Y/N
  18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to? Y/N
  19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to? Y/N
  20. Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough? Y/N More often than not, stories are told in order to teach a lesson or help with physical or emotional hurt. The accuracy of the stories are not critical. In fact, there are often disagreements among family members about what really happened! These disagreements then become part of the family narrative.

NOTE Good outcomes are not produced simply by knowing the answers to the questions above: “If simply knowing family history could make for better states of well-being, some might propose (confusing correlation with causation) that we simply teach children various facts about their families and they will become stronger. Clearly, this approach would not work! Rather, it is our belief that knowledge of family history reflects certain processes that exist in families whose members know their histories. One such process is the communication of family information across generations; important questions about this process would include “Who is passing this information?” and “When is this information transmitted?” In our study of family stories at the Emory University Family Narratives Project funded by the Sloan Foundation, we found that family stories seem to be transferred by mothers and grandmothers more often than not and that the information was typically passed during family dinners, family vacations, family holidays, and the like. Other data indicated that these very same regular family dinners, yearly vacations, and holiday celebrations occur more frequently in families that have high levels of cohesiveness and that they contribute to the development of a strong sense of what we have called the intergenerational self.  It is this intergenerational self and the personal strength and moral guidance that seem to derive from it that are associated with increased resilience, better adjustment, and improved chances of good clinical and educational outcomes.”  (Duke, M.P., Lazarus, A., & Fivush, R.  (2008).  Knowledge of family history as a clinically useful index of psychological well-being and prognosis: A brief report.  Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45, 268-272.)

Getting To Know You Games

  • I REMEBER WHEN… Everyone completes the sentence. Decide whether the sentence will be something about yourself, or something about another person at the table.
  • MY SPECIAL TALENT IS Here’s a way to reveal something you’re good at that no one else knows about.
  • PET PEEVES AND IDIOSYNCRASIES You can start by debating the subtle difference between the two, for pet peeves and idiosyncrasies are very different although they are commonly confused. To play, ask each person to name a pet peeve and one of their idiosyncrasies. For advanced (thick-skinned) players only, another version of this game would be to name one another’s idiosyncrasies and pet peeves.
  • LIMITATIONS AND VIRTUES First, provide an explanation of what a limitation is and what a virtue is. Then the self-reflection begins. Insightful!

BIG WORDS {you should know}
Pet Peeve is a noun. An annoyance.
Idiosyncrasy is a noun. Any personal peculiarity or mannerism.

{A static list of games that you and your’s can play to expand minds, build vocabularies, and keep conversation flowing at the dinner table can be found here. This page also links to several common prayers and quotes to stir up gratitude and find new ways to give thanks and appreciate life’s gifts.}

Like this? You may also like “Family Dinners.”


Table Talk

Table Talk March 6, 2013

Because, it’s an art form, and not everyone is a spoken creative. This is a wonderful parenting tool, a hospitable resource and a pleasure! Listen, learn, share, grow, and connect.

When I took time to consider the daily tradition of family dinner, I was amused by another’s suggestion to include talking topics at the table; inspired prompts to encourage conversation and sharing among family and friends. Impressed by the idea that regular meals and regular discussion can have a strong nurturing effect, I put together material for me and mine to chew on. Dedicated to informing and positively inspiring my own personal audience, I thought others might benefit from the links below to questions and games that aim to expand minds, build vocabularies, and keep conversation flowing at the table. I’ve also included a list of several common prayers and quotes to stir up gratitude and find new ways to give thanks and appreciate life’s gifts.

“The dining room, in fact, is the truest form of a living room. It’s where we grow, are nourished, and connect with one another.”  – N A T H A N   W I L L I A M S  {Founder of Kinfolk}




Interested in reading more about the benefits of regular dinners together and regular discussion? See my post on “Family Dinners.”