Several years ago I ran across a list by Robert Fulghum, the author of “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” He wrote about how he started or maintained conversations with strangers. Then he gave a list he had developed he called conversational lifeboats. Here they are although I have removed one because it was a little inappropriate for Christians.
1. Did you ever have a great teacher – in school or out? Tell me.
2. What would you be learning – if you had time?
3. What would you have learned to do if you knew then what you know now? (Language, for example – which one and why – or music?)
4. What would you teach, if you were asked?
5. Teach me something.
6. Do you know any silly tricks? Coins, cards, face contortions?
7. If you could be an eye-witness to some event in history, which one?
8. If you could see someplace in the world before human history – where?
9. Who do you admire? Who admires you?
10. Answer an unasked question – something you know but nobody would ever ask about and you would never volunteer.
11. Decisions of consequence – what forks have been on your journey so far?
12. Pick another place/time in modern history – since 1700 – to live.
13. Book, movie, you’ve read/seen more than once – twice – three times.
14. What ability/talent do you not have but would like to have?
15. Ever thought about changing your appearance or identity? And?
16. If you were a spy, what would be your cover?
17. If you could know how your life will end, but you still could not change it, would you want to know? Why or why not?
18. If you could live one short episode of your life over again – a day, week, month – which would it be? And why?
19. If I did not tell you anything about me, what would you imagine me to be just by what you’ve seen so far?