How to break bread without breaking down in 2019.
Lately it seems that the only thing Americans can agree on is that there is a lot of stuff to disagree on! Polls and studies alike show ours as an increasingly divided society: from religion, to politics, to the color of the dress (yes, we are still talking about that). We struggle to agree on much of anything these days! Which begs the question: how can we be expected to gather together for an extended period of pleasantries when tensions are running so high? Fear not. We have a very simple rule for helping everyone avoid and/or navigate – potentially tricky subjects…
ONE RULE TO RULE THEM ALL
First, do no harm. Invoking the Hippocratic Oath may seem – on the surface – a little melodramatic, but if you think about it, it’s a great way to approach anything uncomfortable or controversial. Before you ask a question, make a statement or pull a face, ask yourself “Am I helping? Or am I hurting?” If your answer is anything but an obvious “Yes!” to the former, then ZIP IT – ZIP IT REAL GOOD!
The time for someone to tell Aunt Karen that she really should recycle will come. The time for Aunt Karen to tell someone else that their choice of career path – while noble – will never pay the bills will also come. Uncle Bob will have the opportunity to explain the finer points of his foreign policy position and cousin so-and-so will, of course, have the opportunity to tell him why he thinks it’s all hogwash…
The day for pointedly discussing politics, religion or the failure of your family to know that that dress really is white and gold will come! But, Thanksgiving Day is not that day. Thanksgiving is – as it should be – a day of unity, community and support. We will gather, we will give thanks and we will break bread. That is it. We will not right centuries-old wrongs or solve the world’s major problems – tremendous and noble as those pursuits are – this just isn’t the venue.
ASK AND ANSWER
While we are encouraging you to steer clear of obvious social landmines, we are not suggesting that you should sit idly by and ignore your family and friends. Sure, in this world of powerful soap boxing and blistering critiques, the idea of “controversy free conversation starters” will likely feel a bit hokey. But it would be shortsighted to count them out as a legitimate tool for engaging with and learning more about your friends and family this holiday season. That said, here is a list of a few of our favorites:
- Count your blessings. No really! List four…
- Other than a loved one, what is one thing that you just couldn’t live without?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What celebrity or icon would you invite to dinner? Why?
- If you were to be stranded on an Island for a year, what book would you take with you?
- Would you rather be the smartest person in the world? Or the most beautiful? Why?
- If you could be an animal, what would it be? Why?
- What is the best movie of all time?
- If you could time travel, would you go forward? Or backward? Why?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do?
- If you could choose a super power, what would you choose? Why?
- How much money would it take for you to bungee jump off of the Walnut Street Bridge?
Give Grace, Get Grace
Slip ups are bound to occur. Someone is going to stray into tricky territory, someone is going to ask you an awkward question and you will likely say something – at some point – that makes someone else uncomfortable. WHEN (not if) this happens, take a deep breath. If the mistake is yours, own it, apologize quickly but thoroughly and then move on. If the mistake belongs to someone else, smile and redirect. The power to remain civil is yours!
From your friends at McCoy Homes: Happy Thanksgiving! May your table be full of the harvest’s bounty and your heart be full of love and unity.