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Dec. 23, 2021

The Dinner Table; Foundational To A Child’s Success (EP.381)

The Dinner Table; Foundational To A Child’s Success (EP.381)

The Dinner Table: Some of the most valuable and enduring lessons that we need to learn are best taught at home. Conversations at the dinner table is one way, but activities and conversations in the car, during exercise, or while just hanging out are all wonderful opportunities. I include all of it under “The Dinner Table.”


N.B. This is a summary, a signpost, pointing you to this episode on both the new Revolution 2.0™ YouTube channel, and where you enjoy your podcasts, e.g., Apple, Google and Spotify.

The dinner table is where we share values, skills, tips and tricks–anything that if passed along might make a difference. The dinner table includes where we eat, in or out, traveling in the car, watching TV, hanging out–anything we do with other members of our family.
  1. There is rich evidence in sports and politics about the value of the dinner table.
  2. The Mannings (football), Kennedys and Bushes come immediately to mind. Go as far back as the Adamses.
  3. The government cannot possibly be either our dinner table contributors or other participants.
  4. This is the only way to pass along our values as well as knowledge to our children and grandchildren.
  5. Passing along values and knowledge is far more valuable than money or possessions.
  6. The world is our dinner table.

This podcast makes the case for the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture discussion. And let’s take the vs. part out; both are powerful influencers, and should not at all be looked at as being in opposition one to the other. Nature and nurture. And we are also going to talk about the different roles and responsibilities we all have around the dinner table–part of the nurture element. The family dinner table is the metaphor we’ll use, but the roles and responsibilities are transportable to other settings. Conversations at the dinner table can certainly be effective, as are doing activities together, conversations in the car, during exercise, and talking while just hanging out. I include all of this under “The Dinner Table.”

For the dinner table to work, to start with someone has to know something worthwhile. No, I am not talking about biases or opinions based on preconceived notions. And I am not talking about lecturing anyone, or trying to be right simply because you know, by God, you’re right. I am talking about things that will make the people around you better if they listen and take action on what you said or showed them by example. Making your case verbally with logic, making your case by example, making your case with care and with the other person’s benefit in mind can open a path for you to be heard. Share what you believe if you can also share, calmly and logically, why you believe it. And for the dinner table to work, someone else has to be willing to listen. Not be willing to buy into everything that’s said, but to be respectful enough to listen. Imagine that; a conversation where the speaker has something valuable to say, and the listener has enough intellectual curiosity and respect to actually listen. 

The evidence of the power of the dinner table is all around us. I’ll pass along some examples I have read about, and some from my own experience. And, my guess is, you have examples of your own. 

In sports, one of the first examples that comes to mind is the Manning family. Archie, Dad, and sons, Peyton and Eli, were all starting NFL quarterbacks; the sons have two Super Bowl rings each. Had the eldest son, Cooper, not been diagnosed with spinal stenosis the summer before he was to play football at his Dad’s alma mater, the University of Mississippi, he could easily have been the best of the three sons. How did that happen? Football, specifically quarterbacking, was discussed at the actual dinner table, and frequently practiced in the backyard and other settings. For many years.

Here’s another football family: the McCaffrey’s. Ed, the Dad, won three three Super Bowl Rings; one as a wide receiver with the 49ers, and two with the Denver Broncos. The oldest son, Max, is a wide receiver with the 49ers. Christian McCaffrey plays in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers. Dylan plays for the University of Michigan, and the youngest, Luke, is a rising Junior at football powerhouse Valor Christian High School, and has already received offers from two major football colleges. Why? The primary answer is the same as above. The dinner table.

We can see the same thing with families in politics and acting: Henry Fonda was Dad to Jane and Peter; Lloyd Bridges was Dad to Beau and Jeff; Kirk Douglas was Dad to Michael; Tony Curtis was Dad to Jamie Lee; Debbie Fischer was Mom to Carrie–the list is almost endless. Connections play a part here, but the dinner table–with the extended definition we are using–has to be the strongest reason.

In politics, I give you the Adamses, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons. 

Closer to home, the person I know who is by far the best at individual investing and using money to make money, on a small, but highly profitable scale, first learned from his Dad at the dinner table. What did you learn at the dinner table? What are you teaching?

We started today’s episode by defining the term dinner table as being far broader than one location to include almost all the places we interact with family members, but we preserved the family metaphor. Now let’s expand the term family from nuclear family, immediate family, to the family of man. Yes, all of us.

The world is our dinner table.

We all have the personal responsibility to pass along our values, morals and knowledge to your children and grandchildren. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:

1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.

As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.


This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again soon.