The things we talk about.

Every family talks about different things. And the best way to find out what you talk most about is when you are on holiday: on a long drive to somewhere fun, when you can do not much else – but talk.

All it takes is a few road trips to see what makes each family tick. I remember when we were growing up it was all about how important family is, and how much we siblings need to stay united and help and support each other – blah, blah, blah. The fact is that we were going through a lot of personal turmoil during these years, which makes it easy to understand why our parents kept at these boring lectures. Which, not surprisingly, paid off in the long run.

Of course people don’t talk about the same thing all the time. But there is a pattern, a theme, that tends to repeat itself more often than others – that becomes apparent during long journeys.

One family I know discuss religion, spirituality and the like. These things are important to them and this reflects in their conversations. Other  families discuss work, business and life’s hard-earned lessons. Their struggle to make a good life for themselves and their children is apparent in what they choose to talk about.

Yet others take in everything that they see – nature, animals and bird-life, wind-mills, cars – and point out interesting things to each other and their children. Others play games, sing songs or read aloud.

Our family is young and our interests are evolving. Topics range from filmi gossip; to bitching about our pet peeves (or people); to work, aspirations and dreams for the future. After the kids arrived, it is also increasingly about what we can do to cement a set of values we hold dear: into the ones we hold dearest.

The kids get bored of course with all of this, so we throw in a few rounds of  ‘I spy’ or ‘Name, place, animal, thing’ or some nursery rhymes or songs to liven things up. And when everything gets too much, we give up and hand over the latest gadget that they were angling for all this while – and shut them up.

And that is the thing. It is so tempting to get the kids to -Keep Quiet! – when you’re on the road for eight to ten hours. To keep them busy without having to hear them argue with each other every few minutes or ask ‘How long more?’ for the 100th time. But after this sudden epiphany, the husband and I are determined to try. The kids have no idea about what’s going to hit them on our next road-trip. But it will be their turn in a few score years when they have their own children (to bore).

It’s our turn now, and by God, we are going to make the most of it.

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4 thoughts on “The things we talk about.

  1. Pix .. Since we have children more or less the same age ( elder son and younger daughter), it has been wonderful to observe and see how they have conversations with their friends and also with us parents over a period of time. I do hope that they will be able to assimilate the values that are so important for their development and also we as parents are able to imbibe these values in them through our conversations with them.

  2. Zainab, what an interesting topic. I am scanning our history of conversations – and I can’t make out a solid pattern. But having conversations (a two way dialogue) is something we are cultivating and cherishing. Hoping to set the tone in our relationship – that we will listen to anything they say. And so we patiently listen to some of the most longwinded recollections of a 6 year old. We also do not seize the opportunities to “advice” or “lecture” as my parents did so very transparently. By 13, I didn’t want to talk to them anymore!
    We want to make it so that when they are 16 or 18 years old, they are going to trust us to listen without judgement, and they are going to grow up into adults who WANT to have conversations with us.
    Thanks for bringing up this topic of conversations. It is wonderful that you are cultivating and noticing this in your family. I hope you and your family have many many wonderful conversations… xo

    • I know what you mean Teri – one needs to balance all the talking/lecturing/ with a whole lot of listening…and then some more. Thank you for bringing this up 🙂

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