Love, Family

A Family Exercise For The Perfect Dinner Conversation


The Gupta Dinner Conversation

This is a great exercise we do on a regular basis as we sit around the dinner table. It has a profound affect on our lives. The conversation typically consists of six  or more questions and the questions are asked of each member of the family. They are given the opportunity to express themselves and then receive the response and encouragement from other family members. This is how it goes:

Question 1: What did you do today that you have not been thanked for?

I would ask my spouse, Meena, first and she may say something like, “I cooked this meal for everyone but no one appreciated it.”

My response would be: “Honey, I want to thank you for the love, care, and nutrition you have provided for us in this meal. I am so greatful you have the time to prepare such an offering to us. Thank you.”

My son, Ajay, would thank mum for the meal she cooked.

My daughter, Anu, would thank mum for the meal she cooked.

Ajay would reply something like, “Dad, I got this amazing grade at school and you completely ignored me.”

My response would be, “Son, I’m so proud of you. I have tremendous respect for you and I see a beautiful future for you. I love and care for you to the highest level possible. You mean everything to me. You did a great job, I’m so proud of you.”

Meena would congratulate Ajay.

Anu would congratulate Ajau.

Question 2: Is there anything in the past that you have not been thanked for?

Question 3: What act of kindness did you see today?

Meena would something like, “I saw someone pay for someone else’s coffee at the coffee shop today.”

Ajay would say something like, “I saw someone hold the door for someone else.”

Anu would say something like, “I saw someone say thank you for great service.”

I would say something like, “I saw someone pay for another person’s toll charge.”

Question 4: What act of kindness did you perform?

My wife would say something like, “I complimented a waitress for her service.”

My son would say something like, “I thanked my teacher.”

My daughter would say something like, “I helped a friend with her homework.”

I would say something like, “I called up a friend to thank him for his companionship.”

Question 5: What are you grateful for?

My wife would say something like, “The great weather.”

My son would say something like, “Being able to play tennis in the warmth.”

My daughter would say something like, “Being able to play with friends.”

I would say something like, “Having great friends.”

Question 6: What was magical about today?

My wife would say something like, “The way the sunlight hit the water and caused a beautiful reflection.”

My son would say something like, “Seeing kids play in the fountain.”

My daughter would say something like, “Laughing at a joke.”

I would say something like, “Watching a child eating ice cream.”

Question 6: Is there anything on your mind that you wish to discuss?

For example, one day my son said, “Dad, you lied to me.”

I said, “Son, I have a very high level of integrity and would you mind sharing your thoughts?”

“Dad, the other day you said you would play with me in fifteen minutes, but you took over an hour.” 

“Son, you are absolutely right. Do you have the heart to forgive me? That wasn’t my intention, but I didn’t keep my word and my word is important to me. In that moment I took you for granted. I apologize.”

He replied, “Thanks, Dad, I accept your apology.”

I then made him a promise for the future by saying, “Thank you for your forgiveness, I am committed to that not happening again.”

This exercise would be repeated the following day with my wife leading the meeting. Each member of the family takes a turn leading the conversation. Each leader is able to ask any additional questions they deem relevant to expand the conversation. In our house, the leader order is as follows:

Day 1 Leader: Anil

Day 2 Leader: Meena

Day 3 Leader: Ajay

Day 4 Leader: Anu

Day 5 Leader: Anil, etc., etc.

By requiring each person to take responsibility for the meeting, their level of awareness will increase as they know what will be asked of them and hence can be proactive instead of reactive. Their mindset will change and be seeking to perform acts of kindness, as well as to notice acts of kindness, which they may not have been able to do before. Their level of gratitude would also increase as they’re constantly seeking for things for which to be grateful. The more gratitude and giving in your life, the more fulfilled you will be.

It’s very important that we are aware of what we say and what our word is. It is so easy to say things and not keep our word to the letter. Sometimes we take the people around us for granted and they’re the people we love the most. By being aware of what we say and what we do, we can increase our ability to keep our word and live to a higher standard. The quality of our lives is determined by the standards we keep. The higher the standards, the higher the quality of life. This beautiful exercise allows each individual to grow in many ways.

This exercise has a dramatic effect on the family in that it creates great, authentic communication. It will pick up problems that family members are having but would otherwise not be willing to discuss. It will enable issues of bullying and suicide to be picked up early so that remedial action can be swiftly taken. It increases the awareness each individual has for themselves and others so they can have a much higher level of integrity. This exercise creates leadership qualities in young people at a much earlier age. It creates a greater level of confidence, communication, and honesty in children, which affects every aspect of their lives. To reach a fulfilled life, you need to give, be grateful, and to grow.

This exercise can also b integrated into family gatherings with some minor modification that would suit the family environment.

This exercise can be performed with work colleagues by changing the actual questions asked to ones similar to below

What have you done that you have not been thanked for?

What do you love about your work ?

What can we do to make your employment more enjoyable and satisfying?

What is an issue that a customer had ?

How can we improve your service ?

How can we improve our product?

How can we improve our delivery ?

etc. etc.

Anil works with successful individuals and companies to create rapid and lasting change through methodologies he has developed in his seminars. He has been featured on Sky TV, Fox TV, Harvard as well as being author of best seller, Immediate Happiness. He travels all over the world and has many well known clients. He gets to the heart of the matter and leaves people living a richer, fuller, happier and abundant life whereby they get to live their lives at a much higher level. To discover how happy you really are please collect your happiness score here. 

Anil Gupta

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