Mealtime conversation starters during coronavirus lockdown or self-quarantine
- What did you need to buy or bring home to prepare for lockdown or quarantine?
- Where did those items come from? What were the nearest places? The farthest places?
- How long could you stay at home before you need something from beyond your gate?
- [For foods and other natural products] What different kinds of soils, climates and species (e.g. pollinators, microorganisms) were needed to produce those items?
- Find out a few things about the people who may have grown the products (feel free to make some guesses about who they were!).
- Who else might have been involved in bringing those items to the shop where you bought them?
- What resources would have been needed to produce, process and deliver those items? (e.g. fuel, electricity, water, land)
- After you have used or consumed those items, what waste will be left? Where will it probably go and what will happen to it there?
- We often talk about animals and plants being part of communities and ecosystems. Discuss whether and in what ways your family is part of a community or ecosystem. Who and what would you include in your community or ecosystem?
- What does the Bible say about our relationships with other creatures?*
- Do you think Jesus felt a strong connection with the natural world (and the natural world with him)? Explain why or why not. **
- Spend some time thanking God for the people, animals, plants and physical “systems” that support your daily life.
- Are there any changes in attitude or lifestyle you might make because of what you have discussed?
During lockdown, have you (re)discovered any simple pleasures that
- are more gentle on the earth; or
- help you feel more connected with people or nature
than ones you normally enjoy?
After lockdown is over, would you continue any of these?
How to use these conversation starters
Any way you like! One suggestion is to cut out each question, fold it and put it into a jar or bowl that you keep on the dining table. When everyone is sitting around the table at a mealtime, choose someone to take out a question from the jar and give each person a chance to say what they think. When the discussion runs out, take out another question. Keep going as long as you like.
Note: Questions 1 and 2 are best done at the start, 12 and 13 are best done near the end, so it would be best to keep those questions aside. The others can be done in any order so can be mixed up in the jar or bowl.
*Some Bible passages that might help:
- Genesis 2: In Hebrew, the name Adam (man) is a wordplay on the word Adamah (soil). An English equivalent might be “humans from the humus”.
- Genesis 2:15
- Leviticus 25
- Psalm 104
- Psalm 148
- Proverbs 12:10
- Hosea 4:1-3
**Some passages to spark discussion:
- Luke 12:22-31
- Matthew 21:18-22
- Luke 19:37-40
- Luke 23:44-46