The key to conversation? Try food.

My two teenage sons milled around the kitchen, fixing themselves breakfast as I flipped through the morning mail. I paused when I came upon a college bulletin that featured a photo and an article about an old friend of mine.

As the boys inhaled bowls of cereal and downed tumblers of juice, I showed them the article and commented that I hadn't seen my friend in years, but knew that she has been doing interesting work as the head of a nonprofit.

"That's nice, Mom," one of them said in that tone of voice that parents of teenagers recognize.

As the other one refilled his cereal bowl, I continued to explain that her husband was doing equally worthwhile work as a public servant.

"Uh-huh," said the other son as he drained the carton of orange juice.

Undeterred, I further commented that she was also the person who gave me my apple pie recipe.

"Really?" the younger one said as he put down his spoon and reached for the bulletin.

The older one looked over at the photo of my friend and commented: "Cool!"

As they looked at the bulletin, I turned my attention back to the stack of mail. I smiled to myself as I realized that it wasn't that they weren't interested in my friend, I just hadn't been speaking their language.

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