I’ve noticed a lot of postings about what topics NOT to discuss at Thanksgiving. In an era of heightened sensitivity even about topics that used to seem safe (e.g. food), it may seem that there are no safe conversation topics left. A friend sent me this list of GOOD IDEAS FOR THANKSGIVING CONVERSATION, so I can’t take credit for it. However, I thought I would pass it along.

I’ve asked a few questions like this of my patients, and been amazed at the answers (patients you least expect have met heads of state, presidents and movie stars, or been part of historical events). Try these around the dinner table, see if you don’t learn something, and find reasons to be thankful.

  1. Express thanks to someone in the room for something they did for you.
  2. “I’m thankful for…” Finish the sentence.
  3. If you could have the attention of the whole world for 30 seconds, what would you say?
  4. One thing I’m thankful for about our country.
  5. What is the key to success in life?  And why?
  6. Tell about a lesson you learned the hard way.
  7. What are some ways life is different now than in the old days? (Ask someone in the room who has seen more years than you have.)
  8. Tell a story of a decision your ancestors made that changed the direction of their lives-and yours.
  9. Tell about a lesson you learned by watching someone else.
  10. “A person I would like to honor publicly is…”  And why?
  11. Tell about an experience that changed you for the better.
  12. Tell a story about something that started out bad but had a happy ending.
  13. “My first hero was _________.”   And why?
  14. Tell about a time when you showed courage, or ask someone to tell a story about a time when they had to show courage.
  15. Describe a teacher who had a significant influence on your life.
  16. Tell about an invention that made your life easier.
  17. “The most admired public figure when I was growing up was ____.” And why?
  18. Tell about a memorable event in your life.
  19. “A famous person I’ve met is _____.”  Tell about the experience.

May we all remember to count our blessings this Thanksgiving.