The Gift of Conversation

Many of you already know this, but I homeschool my three children and well, during the day our house often gets loud. Not obnoxious loud but the kind of loud when a lot of people are talking…sometimes all-at-once-kind-of-loud.

Some days I’ll admit, I yearn for silence. Silence rarely happens around my house unless we are all sleeping. And even though it bothers me sometimes that it is often noisy around my house, if I take a moment and change my attitude into gratitude, I find myself thankful for the gift of conversation.
I’m thankful that I get to have so many deep conversations with my 15-year old son throughout the day. I know many parents who wish this were the case.

I’m thankful that my 12-year old daughter in her own ways communicates her frustration and love instead of bottling it up inside.

I’m thankful that my 10-year old son talks A LOT. He’s full of information and jokes…lots and lots of jokes. He makes not only my husband and I laugh but his siblings as well. The sibling belly laughs make my heart melt.

I'm thankful that although my husband doesn't say much, what he does say is important and thoughtful.

Because I homeschool, we get a lot of time throughout the day just to sit and talk. I’m grateful for that. In the evenings (most evenings), we sit around the dinner table and talk (yes, sometimes there is fighting, arguing, and over-talking so please don’t think this is all rosy). If I get too sentimental, I think about how quickly the days and years have flown by, and I know there is soon coming a time when the conversation will be less and less, so I appreciate the gift that it is now.

Conversation is a gift from God. He spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1:1–31). He spoke to the prophets. He speaks through His word and His Holy Spirit (John 16:13). We speak to Him through prayer, and He listens (Psalm 17:6).

As I think about tomorrow—Thanksgiving—I think about all the people who will gather around dinner tables and sit in silence. Why silence? Because there is so much anger, hurt, and disappointment bottled up amongst families these days. Past hurts and regrets suck the air out of the room, and the tension is so thick, it can be cut with a knife. Adults and teenagers are glued to their phones engaged in virtual conversations but failing to connect with the people sitting right in front of them.

Even worse than silence is conversations that aren’t nice. Belittling, judgment, hate, and discouragement shouldn’t find their way into any conversation yet so often this is what happens when families gather for holiday meals. Instead of being a part of these sorts of conversations, follow the “don’t talk with your mouth full rule” or bite your tongue. Scripture says, “The one who knows much says little; an understanding person remains calm. Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they're smart” (Proverbs 17:27–28, The MSG).

Be thankful for conversations with the people you love and do life with…even the hard ones. Extend grace and listen well. Sometimes people want to talk and just have you listen.

As you gather around the table tomorrow with those you love, may the conversations bring healing, hope, encouragement, and much laughter.

“Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6, The MSG).

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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