It may be a word that is the most frequently used word in the English language. You hear the words “love you “ being said wherever you are. I do it, too. So, what does it mean? Is it real love or just a way to let someone know you appreciate and value them here and now?

I decided to define this word as I see it. So, what does “Love” mean to me?  It means that when I am with you, I am with you and PRESENT with you. It means that I HEAR you. It means that I may or may not UNDERSTAND you and can ask for clarification so that I can confirm with you.

Confirming is so much a part of love. It tells you I am where you need me to be: To be one with you in that moment.

So. the “love” I write of takes and makes one from two. I know this personally, not just intellectually. Not many of us do. It is part of the way I envision the “Kitchen Table.”

I see mother, father, and children sitting around their table in the kitchen. They are talking and attentive to each other; all are involved. They are present, listening, and spontaneously jumping in; they are being heard and unafraid to ask for clarification or more details. Here, dialogue is happening, and age doesn’t matter. One’s voice is important; it is being heard and is an essential part of the family. Every individual knows, feels, and experiences this nurturing taking place.

More than anything else, love allows us the need to be ourselves.  And for the luckiest of us, it happens around the “Kitchen Table.” Love between people is healthy food for our hearts and souls. 

My family sees me—They hear and listen to me—And I come to be

Here’s an abstract sketch that Dall-E AI created from the haiku. Machines see human relationships in mysterious ways.


Sy has been going back over all of the posts on the blog and adding haikus to them. Ira Lieb suggested this quite a while ago, and with the help of mid-journey AI, we can add a little something extra to Sy’s Haikus. This one is based on the post “71 and Cyclone.” We’ll be posting more of these, depending on your comments! (SZ )

71 And Cyclone

A puppy horse—was Cyclone our gift of a horse—She gave us such joy.

Creating the Best Environment

Last night, at around 2 am, I woke up and began to think of “relationships and dialogue,” which led me to ponder the difference between the kitchen table and the office. 

Most offices are structurally formal, meaning there is usually a desk for the person who works within the office, chairs for others, and perhaps a couch. There is a hierarchy, implied or expressed, that is built into the very environment.

At the kitchen table in a functioning home, the very shape and structure of that meeting place serve to flatten the pyramid. Ideally, there is no greater democratic and relationship-building environment. I cannot overstate the value of significant relationships and the dialogue that takes place there. Of course, the kitchen table isn’t always a physical environment. It can be anywhere that people feel safe and listened to. 

As I’m sure you know, I consider dialogue and relationships the most essential conditions between people who are important to each other. I became a better person and leader because I was fortunate enough to have fostered a kitchen table environment for my own inner circle. Those relationships played significant roles in my life that continue to this day.

We all need to ensure we have a kitchen table, whether figurative or physical, and we need to make good use of it. All leaders, whether professional or familial, have the power to create environments, often being unconscious of their own influence. That is both the gift and the curse of being powerful. Recognizing the difference between environments that empower and promote authentic relationships versus those that foster submissive and fearful pawns is the hallmark of effective leadership.

The Kitchen Table—Do not take it for granted—It is powerful