We may dislike small talk, but conversations about the weather, the garden, or dirty diapers are tremendously valuable while we build relationships.
“Adam? A-dam! Where are you?” God’s voice called through the lush green foliage. His Creation was huddled behind a bush, wishing he could simply disappear. Doesn’t God know where I am? Adam wondered.
God knew exactly where Adam was. His question was designed for a response, not for information.
Doesn’t it astound you that God wants a relationship with us? It does me. The thought that the Almighty God wants to commune with me is incredible.
Communication is the heartbeat of a relationship, and according to my young people, one of the best ways to grow communication is through small talk.
I asked my teens the other day whether they thought small talk was important, and their answers were amazing:
“Yes – it’s not the most important, but it’s also important. it gets you away from talking about the deep stuff all the time. It’s a time to talk about the small things in life. I think it’s really important as a family to get to know each other without having to get into the deep stuff.”
Another one said, “Just like with your friends, it’s easy to get edgy with the people you love, but if you talk a lot of small talk to get to know each other. When you talk to your friends, it’s not always “how are you doing in this relationship?” or some other deep question, but when you talk small talk with them, you get to know likes and dislikes and it helps to keep the relationship alive.
Here are some thoughts I have about why small talk is important:
1. Small talk is a free-flowing discussion of whatever comes to your mind. Everyone enjoys being able to speak freely, and not feel stupid. Small talk accomplishes that, in addition to the excitement of exploring new ground.
2. Small talk is a great way to learn new things. We can learn a lot about each other’s likes and dislikes, about space, plants, and dead cockroaches. Even live ones! Small talk with others, even our young people, is a great way to expand our knowledge!
3. Small talk helps your family develop self-confidence. When they’re able to hold their own in a conversation, they’re more likely to be comfortable in almost any situation, and that’s a good thing. People tend to like people who are confident enough to engage them in a conversation.
4. Small talk helps us to “be present.” Small talk makes us put our smart phones aside and engage another person, and in the family, that’s big. It tell the person that they’re valuable to you – valuable enough for you to take some of your attention and time to talk to them and reveal some things about yourself to them.
For me, small talk doesn’t come easily. I prefer deep conversations, so swapping birth stories and discussions of dirty diapers are not things I truly enjoy. But I’ve been thinking lately of how The Lord has helped build bridges with my older children, and I remember it started with small talk.
Something that I’ve found recently that helped me with conversation with my family has been FAMILY TALK“> a set of cards with questions I can choose to ask at any time, of any person. I found it at Hobby Lobby, but you can also get them from Amazon by clicking FAMILY TALK“>. It has a clip, which I clipped onto my purse strap, so I’ll always have it with me. While we’re out as a family, I can pull out a few questions to get some conversation going. It’s been great!
If you’re like me, FAMILY TALK“> can be a big help to you; after all, the best way to grow in communication is through small talk!
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