An Above Rubies reader recently wrote to me, “Both coming from families with poor conversational skills, my husband and I sometimes find ourselves at a loss to initiate meaningful and interesting conversation at dinner with our six children from ages 6 through 17. The children and I are together most of the day; hence we already KNOW most of what has gone on with each other that day. Can you suggest some good conversational starters to help us get going?”

This is a really good question. I also find that if I don’t think of some ideas before the mealtime, the conversation goes nowhere or is non-existent. In fact, I find it is as important to think about what we will discuss at the table as it is to prepare the food we will eat! By the way, when we put out a question at the table, we start with one person and go around the table, allowing everyone to have a turn.

The following are some ideas to get you started. They are only ideas. I am sure you will think of subjects that relate particularly to your family. I like to keep a list on top of my fridge. If I am particularly busy and my mind is too full to think about what we could talk about it, I can go to my list to get an idea.

If you were given a million dollars, how would you spend it? This was a favorite of our children. They never tired of discussing this question.

If you were able to travel to another country, which one would you choose, and why?

Why do you think abortion is wrong? (Christian children know it is wrong, but often they don’t know why. We need to guide their thinking and help them to understand the underlying factors and why it is foreign to God’s ways.)

If abortion is murder, what should we be doing about it? Can you give some ideas?

If you were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, would you give up “Land for Peace?” If yes, why? If no, why?

John Adams, the second President of the United States said, “But a constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” Do you think this is true. If so, why?

What are two things you are especially thankful for in your life?

What new thing would you like to learn to do? And why?

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you today?

What is the best thing that has happened to you in your life so far?

What is your dream and vision for your life?

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” How does this relate to us in our nation today?

Who is the nicest person you know, and why?

What was the nicest thing someone ever said to you? How did it make you feel?

How do you think our words can affect other people? Can you share an experience of how words affected your life, negatively or positively?

What is the best Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Passover etc. you have ever enjoyed. Choose which one is appropriate for your family. What made it so special?

What was the most interesting thing that happened to you today?

The Bible tells us that God made the world in six days. How does this line up with society telling us that the earth is millions of years old? How can you explain this?

Tell us something new that you learned today. Make sure Mommy and Daddy have their turn, too! We should all be learning something new to share each day. 

Did you learn a new word today? Can you tell us what it is and what it means?

What is your favorite story, and why?

Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher and politician (1729 - 1797),said this famous statement, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He also said, “All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Do you think these statements are true? If so, what should we be doing about them?

Romans 3:4 says, “”Let God be true, but every man a liar.” What does this mean to you?

If you were given a day that you could do anything you like to do, what would you like to do? Why?

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States said, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” How does this statement relate to us today?

What is your favorite Bible verse, and why?

Who is your favorite character in the Bible, and why?

Tell us what you think is special about older people.

Tell us what you love about babies. Make sure everyone around the table has a turn to share.

Share with us the character of the man or lady that you would like to marry when you grow up.

What kind of a house would you like to live in when you get married?

What kind of wedding would you like to have when you get married?

If someone said to you, “I don’t believe in God!” how would you answer?

If someone said to you, “How can I find God?” how would you answer? What steps would you take to lead this person to Christ?

What is your favorite tree, and why?

What is your favorite flower, and why?

If you could have whatever you wanted for dinner, what would you choose?

In what way would you like to serve the Lord when you grow older?

If you were going to be a missionary, to which country would you like to go to serve the Lord? Why?

What is your favorite room in the house, and why?

What is your favorite movie, and why?

What is the most interesting show, entertainment, or tourist place you have been to? Why did you like it the best?

2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.” How can we be ready to speak for the Lord in season and out of season. What do you think this means?

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” How should we go about seeking to keep our freedom? What do you think should be done? What can you do?


Ask one child each night to have a turn to find a poem that they like and bring it to the table to read. The next child the next night until they have all had a turn.

You can also ask each child, taking a turn each night, to bring a Bible Scripture to the table which they read recently. They are to read it and then explain what it means to them.

Ask each person to come to the table ready to share about a famous person in history. We did this recently and many learned about people they hadn't heard about before, e.g. Eliezer Ben Yehuda, C. T. Studd, Annie Oakley, etc.

Ask each one to come to the table ready to share about the book that has impacted them the most.

Another idea is to give the children a word such as “justice” or “incorruptible” or any word you would like. Ask them to look it up in the dictionary, go to the Internet to find out more information about it or even find a Scripture in the Bible about it and bring it to the table for discussion time. Each child can then share their information. You can do this with any words or subjects you would like them to discuss.

Instead of nothing happening, the table becomes a place of interaction and learning.



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