I am an enthusiast for conversation and I firmly believe we need to make room for it by creating opportunities to talk face-to face with our children. Good conversations are where children acquire the vocabulary they need to become good readers. Talking with children is how we best prepare them to enter school, ready to be successful learners. I suggest that hanging a colorful map of the world where you eat your meals can give your family countless enjoyable and interesting conversations.
A good conversation during family meals just doesn’t happen. A little ingenuity and effort can change that and the benefits are great and rewarding. At our home there is never any shortage of what to talk about at family meals because a colorful map of the world hangs in our kitchen. Before the map, our dinner table conversations became trapped in the sand pit of “What happened in school today?” with the usual forthcoming response: “Not much, nothing.” The map is like a gigantic game board—and it’s fun and a challenge to discover and find the exact locations of world and national events. Conversations are where children learn the language they need to shape their thinking—it teaches them how to think. As E.M. Forster said; “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?” Face-to-face conversation teaches patience. In a recent article, “ The Flight from Conversation” it was noted: “When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions; we dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters.”In our fast paced, media saturated world, thoughtful conversations are more important than ever before.