Recently our children’s primary school implemented a new program to encourage communication and interaction within families and so arrived home a brightly decorated talking stick, accompanied by a page of instructions on how to use it.

That night around the dinner table the ceremony was kicked off by a very enthusiastic 7-year-old. He relished his time holding the stick and had some kind words for his older brother next to him and it was all very lovely.

He then passed it to our noisiest household member. This 18-year-old, (who probably hadn’t listened to the instructions of use) held the power of the stick within his hands for the next five minutes (quite a long five minutes) and set forth many opinions on various issues that he regarded as lacking or unfair in our household.

He eventually relinquished his tight hold of the stick to his 15-year-old brother, a young man of few words who thanked the 7-year-old for making the stick and quickly passed it on to my husband. Holding the stick firmly, enjoying its power, he waved it in the general direction of our 18-year-old and said whatever rebuttals necessary to the 18-year-old’s objections and complaints.

The stick then found itself in the hands of the 9-year-old who rattled off a long list of thank you’s almost like a prayer.


And finally I found myself with the stick and nothing much left to say.

And then began the fight over who would have the talking stick next.

The talking stick quickly found its way to a sacred resting place. (May it forever hold its peace).

I am sure if used properly, in the correct circumstances and with practice (and without the involvement of a certain 18-year-old), we will eventually get the hang of the talking stick. It really is a wonderful idea and definitely worth a try, especially if your family doesn’t meet together over a dinner table regularly…and I’m really glad that our school is working to build and strengthen family relationships…what a wonderful community to be a part of!