Our guest blogger for Thanksgiving week is no stranger to Heritage of Truth viewers. Jay Payleitner has been our guest several times and offers great suggestions for the family meal on Thanksgiving Day. You can find links to his Heritage of Truth interviews below his comments.
Heritage of Truth wishes you all a happy, grace-filled time of loving one another and praising our Creator and Savior this Thanksgiving.
Hold Off on Dessert.
By Jay Payleitner
Dear Dads and Moms:
This Thanksgiving, I recommend you hold off dessert for an hour or so. And talk. And listen. And share memories and dreams.
Go ahead and clear most of the dirty dishes. Maybe pour coffee. And then be intentional about passing around a basket with pre-printed questions. Everyone picks one. There are entire books and card decks devoted to thought-provoking, discussion-starting questions. Or just make up your own. (You’ll want to have at least two questions for each person at the table.)
“What’s your earliest memory?”
“What are you most proud of this past year?”
“What’s the worst hairstyle you’ve ever had?”
“What was the toughest job you ever had?”
“What’s the biggest challenge you’re expecting in the next year?”
“What nicknames have you been called?”
Over the years, answering questions after stuffing ourselves with turkey has led to some surprising insights from loved ones. Bits of Payleitner history that would have been long forgotten.
My grandmother described seeing a bi-plane fly over her backyard when she and her mom were hanging laundry back in 1914.
A few years ago at Thanksgiving, my own mom described the unpleasant scene when she broke off her engagement to a fellow who got more than a little angry. Her brothers (my uncles) stepped in just in time. A year later, she met my dad.
After looking at his question, one of my sons was moved to reveal an unspoken personal goal that would later come true.
Don’t let anyone pass the basket. If they don’t like the question they pick, it’s okay if they pick another. If someone else at the table wants to ask follow up questions or add their own story, awesome. I know from experience, the discussion will swing from silly to serious.
This only works if no one rushes off to do dishes, text girlfriends, watch football, or race to department store sales. If a baby needs changing or someone has to excuse themselves to keep a commitment to their in-laws, that’s perfectly fine.
And surprise! Teenagers love this kind of stuff.
Oh yeah. Remind everyone that if they don’t leave the table, they eventually will get dessert!
Let me know how it goes,
Much of this was excerpted from Jay’s new book from Bethany House which includes 144 parenting hacks similar to this idea. Quick Tips for Busy Families is coming out this February.
Jay Payleitner Interviews:
To me, Valentine’s Day has little to do with candy hearts, roses, and romantic dinners. It especially has no relation to the hook-up culture of today. Valentine’s Day is about true love, the kind of love my parents demonstrated for 70 years.
True Love Survives Real Life
Seventy-three years ago, my father proposed to my mother on February 14th. Their wedding a little over a year later had to be small, because Dad’s mother had passed away a few weeks before.
- Their first boy was born with a cleft palate. Surgeries left him partially deaf for a time. Their second boy was premature and stayed in an incubator five weeks.
- Dad lost his right hand in an explosion at work. With phosphorus burns in his eyes, face, and arms, he told Mom, “Don’t worry. What’s a hand in this world? God has something better in store for us.”
- Just after Daddy’s accident, the second child, who had poor eyesight from the incubator, dropped a glass milk bottle and almost severed his right hand from his arm.
- Their third child was permanently brain-injured at age 1 by a doctor who used radium to remove a birthmark on his head.
All this happened before their seventh anniversary, but they faced each trial together with faith in their Lord Jesus.
Later, Mom and Dad had three girls and then another boy and girl – eight children in all. It was a little rough financially at times, but Mom was a budget wizard. She and Dad always gave to God first. They also were very generous with extended family and with the poor. Often they would ask us to give up something so they could help those in need. They taught us to think of others first.
When I was sixteen and the youngest was just six, we had a house fire. It set the family back financially for several years. As usual, my parents handled their troubles with faith, prayer, and unity.
True Love Perseveres
Dad and Mom celebrated 25 years, 40 years, and then 50 years together. In 2010 and 2012, they lost their eldest son and youngest daughter. Dad had been ill with cancer and dementia for several years, but he understood their loss.
Mom was Daddy’s primary caregiver. Though Dad got confused about most things, he was always clear about his faith. He still had a sense of humor. And he never forgot that he loved Mom. He could still sing, though not always on key. So Mom and Dad continued their long bedtime tradition. Each night, they sang love songs to each other and love songs to their Savior before they kissed good night.
Daddy passed away two years ago, 37 days before their 70th anniversary. After that, Mom often slept holding his photo, longing for the day when she could go home to heaven to be with God and see her husband again.
Our mom left us early this month, expressing her deep love for her Savior and for each of us. When she was about to be taken to a hospice facility, she asked hopefully, “Am I going to see my husband?” My sister responded, “Yes, Mom, you are.” Those were Mom’s last words to any of us. Now she and Dad are together again, praising their Lord in death as they did in life.
“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” Marriage is about commitment – to God and to one’s spouse. That’s how my parents lived. And that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.