Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Nook Review: "Table Talk," by John and Tina Bushman.

Table Talk
John and Tina Bushman
How do you change the world? It’s a question raised in the introductory pages of Table Talk, a new release by John and Tina Bushman, and the suggested answer is one we all can guess—begin with yourself, and you will affect your family, who in turn will eventually impact the world.
It sounds simple enough in theory, but even the closest and the most vigilant of families can eventually reach a point of conversational impasse, where over scheduled lives and generational differences of opinion slow the flow of sharing to a trickle, and reduce the depth of topics covered to brief exchanges about the necessities of life.
Enter the Bushman’s book of thoughtful conversation starters, touching on some of the most important topics of our day—patriotism, values, faith, and fun. From individual self-reflection to breaking the ice at a large family fireside, Table Talk facilitates thought, and opens lines of communication through a non-threatening format that feels like a game.
The Bushmans drew upon John’s fifteen years of experience as an educator and youth speaker, and Tina’s experiences with their own family, when crafting the questions.  The Bushman’s explain their reason for writing the book:
John and I feel that Table Talk can be so helpful to families trying to establish healthy lines of communication through fun and insightful questions. We hope it will give parents a tool to get their kids talking and to help parents teach values in an informal way. As children develop a pattern of talking with their parents about a wide range of topics, they will be able to turn to their parents in times of great need. As our kids are “dished up” and “served” many positive and negative values each day from so many different sources, family discussions can help children learn their families’ values and expectations more clearly. It is in the home where these things need to be taught.
Three important tips or guidelines are provided to help parents avoid the pitfalls that stifle conversation and open sharing. A 1984 study by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found that when partnered with religious activity in the home, such interactions have the most critical impact on the development of values and plans in children.  
Table Talk’s insightful questions inspire a variety of uses, from husband/wife sharing, to group family discussions, Family Night getting-to-know-you games, and as a springboard for a family fireside or testimony meeting. As an empty-nester, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. Our family is scattered across the country and our time together is precious. Having a ready-made list of hundreds of discussion topics on hand provides limitless opportunities to draw the family together, reconnect, and grow closer.
Could families compile such a collection of questions themselves? Probably, but will you? Having topics at the ready is half the battle, and the authors' reminders about conducting comfortable discussions on challenging topics is invaluable.

I loved this book for its potential to encourage family discussion and closeness. Table Talk would be an invaluable tool in any home It would make a great gift for any parent, and deserves a spot on every family's shelf.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a book every family should have.To open those lines of communication. When my 7 were growing up it was a different time, no video games, cell phones or computers. We had family game night, movie night and almost every discussion we had about religion and our beliefs and expectations were started early in their lives. I agree, all these values should be taught by the parents .
    It was difficult with 7 kids in the house but we gave each one their own night during the week where they sayed up only an hour later and we talked about everything on their mind. Since there are only 7 days in a week we lucked out. loll
    Thanks for the recommendation Laurie. I'm gong to mention it to my daughters.:)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com