Great minds discuss ideas.  Average minds discuss events.  
Small minds discuss people.

Last week I had the above written on our new (to us) chalkboard.  I had it there to spawn discussions at dinner, which it definitely did.    Each of us was able to identify people we know who engage us in meaningful conversations...and a few who do not.  We discussed the life-giving nature of being around someone who is full of ideas, who leaves us inspired and excited by their ability to paint thoughts before us.  We admired the quality of fullness those relationships leave behind.

Ive found that in order to keep the waters of fresh conversation flowing in my family, I must be intentional in planning.  So this week, after we took the school pics and I used the chalkboard for that, I drew in a "favorites" library.  I drew a few bookshelves lined with favorites from each one of our family members, both immediate and extended.  I did that so when we are at dinner and conversations need a boost, we can refer to that board to shake things up.  A few examples:  Which one is your favorite to read in the fall?  Which one do you remember reading in the rocking chair?  Which one do you think is Nana's favorite and why?  Which one was done best as a movie?  Which one made you think about life differently after you read it and why?  Which one was the hardest to get through?  Who was your favorite character?  Who was the character you couldnt stand?  Which one would you buy for a 6th grader?  Which one made you laugh out loud?  Which one made you cry? Which ones have you read more than once?

I also, intentionally, misfiled one book (in the Lord of the Rings series) hoping that at some point either Doug or the girls will catch it.  And misspelled two titles for the same reason.  Hee-Hee.  I will prompt them with those mind puzzles as well, if time permits.

Since we have bookshelves all over our house, it seems odd to draw them as well.  But this one is different somehow.  Peyton was the first to start talking about it last night.  She asked what percentage of all the books up there that I thought she had read.  She had a number in mind and wanted to see if I agreed (I did!).  And we talked about how that number will probably double in the next two years (which made me really think about how much her mind will grow in the next two years).  Then Savannah began to guess her percentage as well (and how movies dont count!).  Doug asked how Green Eggs and Ham made it in next to Grapes of Wrath?  I laughed.  They are both classics, and they are both loved my members of our family!  I hope that one night he will talk long to the girls about his favorite book - Why We Cant Wait.  I also hope that someone tells me I forgot one...because I saved 3 spots just for such.  And deep down I hope that we have someone over for dinner in the next week (because it will get erased after that) who will point out Anna Karenina.  You know my love of Karenina!  Oh the symbolism!!!  Ok, Ill stop.

This type of intentional engagement is why I have wanted a chalkboard in our dining room for so long. I cant wait to use it for all the things I have in mind.