I can never once recall talking about world events in my home, not even while growing up during the War in Vietnam. I can't recall a single conversation about an upcoming election (local or national), or about the importance of wealth building, saving money versus increasing your net worth. We did not discuss the importatnce or impact of decisions made at the board of education. I spent my entire childhood and not once did I ever see a national newspaper on my doorstep, not one. I can't recall our TV spending more than fleeting moments on national news programming, unless there was a crisis, like the time Ronald Reagan was shot.. But in comparison, my non-brown friends, many of them were engaged in dinner table discussions that touched upon each of these. Not only did they touch upon them, as a family unit, they had engaging conversations probing concepts, contrasting views, key insights, implications, opportunities or threats embedded in each of these. I saw it first-hand and I wondered, wow, what are my friends getting that I am missing.
At our dinner table, we discussed topics like, whose turn it was to do dishes, which bills we were caught up on, can we spend the night at such and such's house? We argued over why there were still dirty dishes in the sink from earlier in the day and whose job it had been to wash them. We discussed grades only if they were failing and school only if momma had been called in cause somebody really messed up. We watched local news to see if anyone we knew had been arrested, or if we needed boots/jackets for tomorrow's walk to school. We discussed leftovers, broken washers and dryers, leaking furnaces. We discussed money not in the context of saving it but in terms of never enough.
I wonder how different my life would be today if our conversations had not always been stuck in survival mode and had instead branched into the world outside of my neighborhood and community? Would my brothers be CEO's instead of stuck working a trade? Would my mother still have worked herself to death at age 55? At least would we as a family unit have had the option and resources to explore a different path?
Are we missing the opportunity to grow and strengthen our family legacy by conversations that begin at home? I think so.