Last summer, I was honored to attend a Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) trip to Israel.  Our local group hosted 12 moms for this life changing experience. As part of our trip, we attend monthly follow-up meetings. These meetings are designed to continue our learning and inspiration to refine our souls to become better people.  In our faith, we are taught that the purpose of life is to refine our soul, our connection to G-d, and to provide mitzvots, or loosely translated, into good deeds.

I was introduced to a simple yet powerful activity. Many families use this during dinner to encourage deep meaningful conversations, (DMC). In this activity, each family member will discuss their day using the three concepts “Rose Bud Thorn.“



First, we will discuss the “Rose” part. But what is a rose?  Close your eyes and what image comes to your mind. For me, a rose is a beautiful flower whose smell is full of warm and comforting scents. The “Rose” is the highlight of your day.

Was it the time that the teacher showcased your social studies project on the power of a smile to a random stranger’s day? Or was it when you were driving in the rain and witnessed a stranger stop and give an umbrella to a pedestrian?  Or was it the time that you were able to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee without an interruption?


The “bud” is the part of the day/week that you are looking forward to experiencing. Are you looking forward to celebrating your birthday? Are you getting excited for that special weekend getaway for couples?


The “thorn” part of the DMC explains the area of your day in where you can improve or change your behavior. What went wrong? Was it when you yelled because your children spilled the milk again on the kitchen floor (for the second time in less than 5 minutes)?  Or when the phone rang again interrupting that special time with your spouse?

I am always looking for different, unique and exciting ways to improve the communication techniques that are used in our family and in our home. Our children range from 7 to 15, so I feel that this dinner time pastime is suitable for all ages. I’m interested to hear and listen to my family’s answers.  This activity is a great way to reflect on our own individual behavior. The more we focus on gratitude and appreciate what we have; I feel we are going to be a happier person.

It’s always better to focus on the positive versus the negative aspects of your life.

Another idea is to implement a gratitude journal. Write down three items that you are grateful for being in your life each and every day.

I would hear if this conversation starter has worked for your family, workplace, youth group, or social gathering.

What other conversation starters have you used?

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.