If you’re anything like me, the Passover Seders of my childhood were merely a countdown to the main event: The Meal. We dutifully and somewhat blindly read through our well-loved, torn and tattered Maxwell House Haggadot until we would finally reach the coveted line, “The Meal is Served.”

My mom’s beloved matzah ball soup inspired our annual argument: sinkers vs. floaters. (For what it’s worth, I still vote for floaters despite my late grandfather’s insistence on sinkers.)

We gorged on brisket that melted in your mouth and on my dad’s famous lemon chicken, so moist and delicious it was even known to tempt one particular staunch vegetarian.

I remember the table packed with the same loved ones who we scarcely saw any other time of year. My sister and I spent hours strategically setting out the place cards so we could sit beside the person we missed the most. That was before my dad would come home and rearrange it all.

I think about how no matter what, my grandfather sat at the head of the table – even years after he passed the torch of leader on to my father.

What I don’t remember are specific discussions and debates. I don’t recall conversations about the depth and meaning of the word redemption. Instead, the lessons I learned from my family Passover were about the importance of family and friends, the importance of gathering together and spending time with each other and of setting a table so everyone feels included–even if it has to be reset a few times.

Of course, I learned about the importance of my dad’s mouth-watering lemon chicken recipe.

When the time came for me to host my own Passover Seders, I began to wonder: could I marry the important lessons from my family’s past with the important lessons of our people’s past?

As part of my Seders now, we help spark discussion and bring relevance and meaning to the story of Passover by giving each of our Seder guests an assignment. Over and over, our youngest amaze and mesmerize us with their brilliance and depth.

One year, we asked two elementary-school-aged boys who are masters at Lego creations to build an entirely new society out of Legos. Like the Israelites who left Egypt, the boys thought about everything needed to survive and thrive. It led to a lengthy and meaningful conversation about what makes a community and what people require to feel needed, fulfilled and included. The conversation engaged guests from 5 years old to 65 years old.

Once, we asked one pre-teen guest and one adult to individually create a list of 10 modern-day plagues. Remarkably, the lists were almost identical and inspired a conversation around what we can do to mitigate some of the issues plaguing our society.

Following our pre-Seder conversation in the living room, we make our own exodus to the dining room, where we continue to talk throughout the seder as we eagerly anticipate the coveted line, “The Meal is Served.”

Like the Seders of my childhood, I spend hours strategically setting out place cards so everyone feels included. I still find great meaning and enjoyment in our Seder discussons. Yet, I hope that when my children look back on their childhood seders, they will remember most the importance of family and friends gathering together to enjoy each other’s company. And of course, I hope they remember the lemon chicken.