For years, my family and I have had the most wonderful tradition.  During our dinner conversations every night we don’t just have small talk or NSW conversations (news, sports, weather).  We try to have meaningful conversations.  Conversations that make us better.  Conversations that challenge us.  Conversations that bring us closer.

We’ve been doing this tradition with Anthony, Caroline, and Tate for over ten  years.  Multiply that by a few hundred times a year…our family has had 3,000 meaningful dinner conversations over the last decade.  I believe a lot of who our children have grown to become stems from the intentionality of the conversations around our dinner table.

Since Anthony just got home from West Point Military Academy, we went to his favorite steak restaurant last night.  And this was our table conversation.  “When you are on your death bed about to pass on to heaven – besides your spouse, children, and closest family – who are the “Five Friends by your Side?”

This sparked an amazing dinner conversation about who the five most important people in our lives are.  What a thought-provoking exercise.  More importantly, we learned how beautiful it was verbalizing who the greatest five friends in our lives are.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but Jill and I mailed 660 Christmas cards to family and friends around the world this week.  We are blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.  People that helped shape us into who we’ve become.  But watching my family choose the “Five Friends by your Side” was more powerful than receiving any amount of Christmas cards.  When you really cut out the noise of social media, work, school, and the stresses of life…who are the five most important people in your life?

When I’m on my death bed – hopefully 48 years from now (I hope to live to one hundred) – of course I want to be holding my Jill’s hand and want Anthony, Caroline, and Tate close by.  But out of the tens of thousands of people in my network and social circle, it did not take me long to come up with my five.  And my family, last night, guessed all five of my friends correctly.

Over the holidays, let’s not just talk about news, sports, and weather. Let’s have meaningful table conversations.  Conversations that make us better, challenge us, and bring us closer to those that we love.  And take some time to think about the “Five Friends by your Side”.  Who in your life has had the greatest influence on your life? And when you are on your death bed about to go to heaven, who are the five friends that you would invite to be by your side?

The greatest Christmas present that you could give those five friends is to call them and let them know.  I will be calling my five – tomorrow morning!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you all.

Love, Tommy