One of the signs of a healthy family is open and meaningful conversation. But it's not always easy to get your kids talking. 101 Conversation Starters for Families is an excellent place to begin, providing just the right blend of fun and thought-provoking questions.
Authors Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson have created this treasure trove in a handy tabletop format. Whether you do one question a week or five days a week, your family will experience a new level of closeness. 101 Conversation Starters for Families is the perfect companion to bestselling books, The 5 Love Languages of Children and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers.
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About the Author
RAMON PRESSON, PhD, a licensed marriage&family therapist, has been in practice for 30 years and is the founder of LifeChange Counseling and Marriage Center of Franklin www.LifeChangeCS.org. He is a newspaper columnist; and with a dozen books in print he is the most published practicing therapist in Tennessee. He is a charter member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. From 1989 to 2004 Presson served as an assistant pastor in large churches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Ramon has had the unique privilege to serve on staff with and later co-author several books with Dr. Gary Chapman. He is currently co-authoring the teen edition of When Will My Life Not Suck? Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned with his 17-year-old son, Cameron. Ramon and his wife, Dorne, have been married for 28 years, have two sons, and live outside Nashville. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read an Excerpt
101 Conversation Starters for Families
By Gary Chapman, Ramon Presson
Northfield PublishingCopyright © 2012 Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson
All rights reserved.
Give each member of the family an imaginary award for an achievement or something special they did recently.
Name one talent you wish you had.
If you had to give up sight, hearing, the ability to speak, or the ability to walk, which would you choose?
If you had a magic wand and could change anything in your life right now, what would it be?
If you could be on any magazine cover, which one would you select?
If you could go on a vacation to another country, which one would you select?
What is one of your favorite stories that your parent(s) tell about you?
If we had to move from our home to another city, what would you miss the most about our home?
Our neighborhood? Our city?
Who would you miss the most?
If you could have any kind of unconventional pet, what would you choose?
What is the best reason you can think of not to use alcohol or drugs?
Bestow a "Fruit of the Spirit Award" (Galatians 5:22-23) upon each family member. From the following, affirm the quality you observed recently.
What dessert do you think you could eat for a lifetime?
In Acts 12 young Rhoda told the people in the house that Peter was knocking on the door, but they didn't believe her. Can you recall a time that you were telling the truth but someone didn't believe you?
If you could ask God any question, what would you ask?
Talk about a time when it felt good to help someone.
If I could be any kind of animal for a day, I'd like to be a ...
Which of the following would you like to have in your backyard?
 go-cart track
 swimming pool
 miniature golf course
 tennis court
 underground headquarters
 20 pieces of playground equipment
 other _________________
In the Chronicles of Narnia, four children walked through a wardrobe (clothes closet) and into the magical land of Narnia. If you had a magic door in the back of your closet that could take you to one special place anytime you want to go, where would it be?
What is something that would be hard for you to share?
As a surprise for your birthday party we've arranged for a famous person of your choice to attend. Who will you choose?
I wish I had a personal coach, tutor, or mentor for ...
What is one of the most uninteresting things you have to do on a regular basis?
Using the first letter of your first name, the family must come up with a positive word that begins with the same letter to describe you. For example: Talented Trevor or Generous Ginny.
What were the best and worst moments from this past week?
In what Olympic sports event would you like to win a gold medal?
Everyone has five minutes to scout the house for objects that positively describe members of the family, then use the object in a sentence to describe the person. For example: "I have a light-bulb for Cameron because he brings light into our house"; or "I have a paper clip for Mom because she holds our family together."
This week my internal weather could be described as:
 partly cloudy
 partly sunny
 hot and dry
 cold and rainy
 early fog, then clearing
 frost warning
 other __________
If at the end of every day you were granted an extra hour to do anything you wanted, how would you regularly spend that hour?
Tell family members about a compliment or affirmation that you've received recently from someone outside the family.
Who is someone in our extended family (grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, in-law) that you wish you could spend more time with?
Give each member of the family an imaginary gift certificate to a favorite store, for a favorite or wished-for product, or special event.
Who is someone in our extended family, neighborhood, school, church, or workplace for whom we could do something helpful? What could we do?
CHILDREN: Who is the biggest bully at your school?
PARENTS: Recall a bully at your school.
BOTH: Why do you think some kids become mean?
About trading places
CHILDREN: I think the best part about being a grown-up would be ...
PARENTS: I think the best part about being a kid again would be ...
The early years
PARENTS: Recall and describe some special detail or feeling you remember about the day each child was born or came into the family.
CHILDREN: What is your earliest childhood memory (one of the first that comes to mind)?
If you were President of the United States for a day, who is someone that you would honor with a special award?
What is your favorite television commercial?
If you could change anything about your appearance, what would you change?
What is your favorite time of the day? Favorite day of the week? Favorite month of the year?
Recall a family outing or vacation that went badly but you're able to laugh about now.
Complete this sentence: "I feel especially close to you when ..."
What was your best day this past week?
What animal best illustrates how you deal with conflict?
 lion—attack first
 turtle—turn inward and silent
 bird—fly away
 skunk—fight dirty
 snake—attack if provoked
 puppy—whimper and cry
 peacock—make a scene
 other ___________
PARENTS: A rule that I wish we had in my family growing up is ...
CHILDREN: A rule in our family I wish I could change is ...
Talk about a time you were scared.
Conflict is pretty normal in all families. Forgiveness is a gift regularly offered in healthy families. Complete the following sentence: "(Name), I'm glad you're not still angry at me for ..."
Recall a time when someone (not a family member) hurt your feelings.
Recall a time when you were nervous about having to do something in front of a lot of people (recitation, give a report or speech, sing, play an instrument, play a sport, etc.).
Recall a time that you were really embarrassed.
Complete this sentence: "I wish I had the (courage, time, or money) to try ..."
Recently I didn't feel very pleased with myself when I ...
Each person comes up with a separate answer for every family member: "I know that something that drives you nuts is ..."
How much influence do you think your friends have on you?
If the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) grew on trees, which one would you most want to plant in our yard for yourself?
What is something that you are worried about these days (or typically worry about)?
Tell about a time you felt very sad.
Each person has a love language, a way in which they feel truly loved. What do you think is the love language of each person in our family?
 Physical touch (hugs, kisses, cuddling)
 Words of affirmation ("I love you," "I missed you today," "You look great")
 Acts of service (doing something special to help or surprise)
 Quality time (spending time together in a way that is meaningful for the other)
 Receiving gifts (tokens of love; items the person likes or enjoys)
One of the things that I like most about our church (or community) is ...
Recall a family experience involving one of the following: fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, or camping.
The lion, beaver, otter, and golden retriever are animals used to describe four personality types. Which one do you think best describes you?
 I'm a lion: strong, confident, a leader; I like to make sure things get done.
 I'm a beaver: detail-oriented and organized. I follow instructions and am good with projects.
 I'm an otter: very outgoing, humorous, creative. I enjoy people.
 I'm a golden retriever: loyal, sensitive, caring.
Recall a family memory involving one of the following:
 theme park
 sporting event
Recall a funny family time involving one of the following:
 fresh snow
 slick ice
 beach sand
 fall leaves
 gloppy mud
Describe two things that happened today and how you felt about each of them.
Recall a family moment at one of the following:
 mountain stream
I think the best job in the world would be ...
CHILDREN: What is your favorite toy? What is your favorite candy?
PARENTS: What were some of your favorite toys? Some of your favorite candy?
You remind me of Jesus the Healer Jesus the Servant Jesus the Preacher Jesus the Storyteller Jesus the Revolutionary
Our family has been invited to join the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. What role will you perform? Which would you least like to do?
Recall a family experience involving one of the following:
 a bike ride
 a boat ride
 a plane ride
 a train ride
 a carnival ride
When have you felt like an outsider—like you weren't part of the group?
One of television's most popular game shows was Let's Make a Deal, offering the risk of gain and loss. If Monty Hall, the host, were to say to you, "You can keep the $3,000 or trade it for what's behind the curtain," what would you do?
What is something in nature (plants, animals, fish, geography, weather, space, etc.) that truly fascinates you?
Of whom would you like to have an autographed photo?
Each person is to flip a coin and answer the appropriate question below.
HEADS: What was something encouraging or positive that happened today?
TAILS: What was something disappointing or difficult that happened today?
For this conversation starter, each person will need a paper or Styrofoam cup. Each person is to craft (that is, draw, color, cut, tear, poke holes, or attach objects to) his or her cup in order to illustrate one of the following:
 How I feel today or this week
 My spiritual life right now
Pick one aroma that makes you say "Aaahhhh."
 fresh brewed coffee
 fresh baked brownies
 new leather
 steaks broiling on a charcoal grill
 new car interior
 fresh baked bread
 honeysuckle in the breeze
 newly cut Christmas tree
Now come up with an additional favorite scent on your own.
Complete this sentence: "I know you've heard me say it before, but I just want to tell you again: ..." (Be original; say something other than "I love you.")
If our house were on fire and everyone (including pets) was safe outside and you could safely retrieve one personal item, what would it be?
Congratulations! You just foiled a robbery at one of your favorite stores. To say thanks, the manager has promised you a lifetime 50 percent discount. In what store will you be enjoying this savings?
Who is one of your favorite fictional characters? (This character may be from a book, short story, movie, video, television show, Saturday cartoon, comic book, or comic strip.)
What is one of your favorite sounds?
 a steady rain at night when I am in bed
 the bell signaling school is dismissed
 crickets chirping
 my favorite music
 an ice cream truck chiming on the street
 ocean waves through the open window
 children laughing
 coffee brewing in the morning
 a ringing phone, knowing it's for me
 other ___________
Your family is burying a time capsule that will be opened one hundred years from now. What two items will each of you place in the capsule that illustrate something about your life right now?
If you could travel in the future to any time in your life to find out what happens or just to enjoy the moment, what period or moment in your life would you want to observe and why?
In the National Hockey League, the team that wins the championship receives a large trophy called the Stanley Cup. It is tradition that each member of the championship team enjoy personal possession of the Stanley Cup for a day. If you could take possession of anything in the world for one day, what would you choose?
If you were a country, which would you be?
 Australia—mysterious and wild
 Israel—small but mighty
 Bahamas—warm and friendly
 United States—proud and ambitious
 Canada—big but gentle
 Japan—small but resourceful
 Russia—dealing with changes and challenges
The U.S. Postal Service has said that if you'll agree to be a mail carrier for the summer while some of their workers take vacation, they will provide you with the vehicle of your choice for your postal route. What's your choice of vehicle?
Which of the Seven Dwarfs are you today—Bashful, Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Happy, or Doc?
CHILDREN: What toy or activity most engages your imagination or concentration?
PARENTS: As a child or teen, what toy or activity most engaged your imagination or concentration? What pleasant activity most engages it now?
What product, service, place, or event are you so enthusiastic about that you'd make a good salesperson or spokesperson for it?
Something I'm looking forward to in the next few weeks or months is ...
What do you think you would have said if Jesus had chosen you to be one of His twelve disciples? Recall a time that it felt good to be chosen by a person, group, team, or committee.
Recall a time when you were either not chosen for something or by someone. When was it? How did you feel?
In Luke 17 ten lepers were healed of their disease, but only one returned to thank Jesus. Think of something that each family member has done for you recently. Then express your thanks by saying, "I really appreciated it when you ..." or "Thank you for ..."
If you could ask Jesus to further explain something He said or did as recorded in the New Testament, what would you ask Him about?
Who is perhaps the best teacher you've ever had? Explain your choice.
CHILDREN: What is something you remember about a time you were very sick or injured?
PARENTS: What is something you remember about your children's illnesses or injuries?
Excerpted from 101 Conversation Starters for Families by Gary Chapman, Ramon Presson. Copyright © 2012 Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson. Excerpted by permission of Northfield Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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