Coming up to the Christmas and holiday season, there is something that I look forward to more than anything – just sitting around, rather perhaps lazying around, and having fun, casual but meaningful conversations with family and friends.
This Christmas is going to be a little bit different for us, as this will be the first Christmas that neither of our sons and partners will be with us, just our super daughter, Tayla (nearly 15 years now!)- this sense of change has made me feel a little sad and probably Tayla feels it the most but we are shaking things up to match the change – but this is life though isn’t it – change is inevitable. I do need to say that whilst we are not together for Christmas, we are all together for the week after Christmas, camping together!!
As I write (in the hairdressers having my roots done!), I recall the many great times as a family, with our teenagers and their friends, and with our friends, when those vital and meaningful conversations were in full flight. Those times always make me smile.
I often receive comments about our relationship with our children, even when they were teenagers, that we seemed to have a good, open, honest relationship with each other (although I am sure that not all was revealed – and that’s okay). We did work hard to keep up, present and ensure good talking times. I asked myself what helped create an environment for those conversations, especially during those teenage years… and what I recognised was that the created spaces, the environment helped support the talk.
We have, over the years, learnt as a family the value of creating conversation pits:
- We have an circular outdoor fire which we all sit around in those winter nights, with a stick in hand poking at the fire or roasting marshmallows… just chatting. As the children have matured, a mulled wine sits in the hand – but still a stick in the other!
- In the spa, drink on the side, recalling good memories and planning for new ones. The number of young people that can fit in our spa is quite spectacular!
- In the lounge, with all the chairs and lounges in the space not facing a screen but each other. The TV is in another area.
- At our square dining table, no seat more important than another, even sides and equal opportunity to talk through with each other what is going on, what is troubling us, and how we can help each other out.
- At our camping site – in January’s dreamy summer, down-south Western Australia, as the sun sets, the sea breeze settles and the crashing waves continuously fill the air under the dancing stars – all of us in our camping chairs around a table, playing cards, charades, scrabble and anything else that take the team’s fancy, and talking about all things frivolous and then a sudden shift into the really meaningful; philosophy and theology, greatest challenge this year, what we have learnt about ourselves, what we are looking forward to, what made us cry, what took us over-the-moon. So rich!
Can I encourage you, especially if you have teenagers, to make and create conversation pits for you and your family (and their friends), and for your friends for those vital conversations.
it’s Christmas time and the holiday season – no better time to talk the night away.
I love these ideas! My family grew up very close and open with each other and I hope to foster the same kind of relationship with my son (currently a toddler!) and any future children. This piece has given me some things to think about for the future 🙂
I love all your parenting tips Penny, often they are very easy to implement, but so very wise. Thanks xx