Over the last few weeks, we’ve been posting about Keith Ferrazzi’s Greenlight Dining Guides and stories of how people have put them to use in their day-to-day lives.  One of the members of our Dish team was inspired to try some of what she learned from the guides herself, and the resulting conversations with her family proved to be memorable bonding moments.

With Easter weekend approaching and lots of family get-togethers on the horizon, we thought now would be the perfect time to share how the dining guides can be put to use in real life family situations.  Her are her experiences:

Casual Lunch for 2:

My mom and I went out to grab a quick lunch and enjoy a little mother-daughter pampering with pedicures.  I decided it would be a great opportunity to put a dining guide question to the test.

I started by asking my mom a revised version of the question “What is one thing that made you smile today?” Instead, I asked her to tell me about the best memory she had of motherhood when I was young, specifically around the same age as my kids are now.  This one question started 30-minute conversation that led to my mom and I connecting in a different way than just our regular mom and daughter chats.

This one question led us to discuss the different trials and triumphs she had while raising me and the comparisons and differences she sees in the way I am now raising my own children.  I learned so much about her thought process back then – as with any kid-parent relationship, there were many times I didn’t understand her logic in parenting me – and it gave me a much better understanding.  She also paid me so many compliments about how I am raising my kids that went far beyond what I knew she thought about my parenting skills. It was amazing how that one question led to such a profound and deeply meaningful conversation that I will always remember, rather than an afternoon of discussing our salads and nail polish color choices.

Large Family Group Dining:

Seated at dinner with a large group of family members, I noticed our conversation was veering down the path of surface conversations about the weather and what we had all done that day, so I decided to drive the conversation in a different direction by asking my grandfather on how he got his start as a farmer.

I knew this was something that would interest everyone at the table (an uncle, my parents, my kids), so everyone was all ears for his explanation.  We were treated to a fascinating family tale we never would have touched on otherwise.   I expected a response about having grown up on a farm and “I just ended up here,” but, instead we learned a little piece of family history.

He started by explaining how the farm land ended up in our family.  It was a very interesting story I had never heard.  His great-great-grandfather died at a young age, so his wife and their many sons ended up packing up on a wagon and going “west” until they found land they could homestead.  That one question led us all to learn how our family ended up living in rural Nebraska (fascinating, really, because who chooses to live in rural Nebraska?)

We hope these real-life examples have given you some food for thought on how you might take your own family conversations to the next level if you are gathering together this weekend!  Share your own experiences in the comments below.