A table is just a table when it does its normally expected duty—holding our food, our work, our crafts, our homework, our stacks of opened and unopened mail, etc.  In these ways, a table is an important supporter of our daily activities.

More than just a table

A table is more than “just a table” when you think about all the relationship-building that a table helps to facilitate.  Think about the important tables in your life, and ask yourself:

  • Who’s often sitting with me?
  • What are we talking about when we sit together?
  • Why do these relationships mean so much to me?
  • How is it that I need to nurture these relationships?

Tables have meant more to you and me than we might typically realize.  That’s an important realization, though, because you and I have tables, and therefore relationships in our lives right now that we might not always have in the same way we do today.   And, so let’s really focus in on the last question above and be a little more thoughtful about nurturing valuable relationships.  More specifically, who in your life right now do you need to listen to a little better, be a little more open with, encourage a little more?  What if you and they talked a little longer, laughed a little harder, pondered a little deeper?  You won’t always have the same opportunities.  Now’s your chance!

When you switch tables

I’m currently leaving behind an important table in my life.  That’s it pictured at the end of this blog post.  It’s a big table but not a fancy or especially pretty table.  This table has been a centerpiece of my 6-year partnership with the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University.

Around this table, I have spent hours working alone, hours working with students, and hours working, sharing, and lunching with colleagues.  The work I’ve done around this table and the students with whom I’ve worked have all been important to me.  But, it’s the colleagues I’m thinking most about as I transition away from Wake Forest to an exciting new career opportunity with Piedmont International University.  Some of these colleagues have become very good friends, and yes, we built and nurtured those friendships, in part, around our office tables.

I know with confidence that some of my closest friendships from Wake Forest will last.  Similarly, I am confident that I will establish wonderful relationships at Piedmont.  New tables, and thus, changing relationships are a natural part of life.  Yet, I will miss spending time with my Wake Forest friends, particularly time around the table.

Nurturing relationships takes time and effort

To continue nurturing these important relationships will require that my friends and I stay in touch, and in our busyness, that’ll require effort.  Likewise, you and I as family members have to make effort to connect and build relationships, even at home, and especially at home, where our most important relationships are.  That’s where I’ll leave off for now…with you and me pondering our kitchen tables.  As you and I are keenly aware, time is passing quickly.  We’re getting older; our kids are getting older.  As I said earlier, now’s our chance!  Let’s decide right now, what is one small change we will make this week around our tables to nurture important relationships?  Do that!  See what happens!

Your friend and fellow lover of tables,


PS1: Mine and Dr. Gary Chapman’s new book is out.  It’s full of ideas on how you can make better use of your table time.  The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts is a fun and practical play on the home improvement metaphor.  You can find it in most major stores, including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  Let me know on social media @DrShannonWarden and under #DIYFamilyBook what you think of the book.  Thanks for your interest!

PS2: I really appreciate you making time to read my Hope to Build On blog!  If you’ve not joined my email list, I’d love for you to join.  I don’t send out a lot of emails, and I absolutely never will share your email address with anyone else.  So, join, ok!

When a Table is More Than Just a Table

This table is more than just a table; it’s where relationships have been built and nurtured.