Starting young with eating dinner together
A favorite memory of my childhood is eating dinner together. We played outside until Mama called us, then we hurried inside and scooted on the benches on two sides of the table to find our place.
When our kids were small, we usually sat around the table together for dinner. Three kids down one side and three down the other side, with Dave and I taking our places at each end. The two oldest sat in the middle of each row with the kids most inclined to cause problems sitting to the right and left of Dave. I’m sure you can imagine why they got to sit next to Dave and not next to me.
There were times Dave was late getting home and we ate without him. But most times, most evenings, we sat at the dining room table, eating dinner together as a family. The object, of course, was to create a bond among all of us. It was a great time to discuss our day and the things that were the best and also the worst. while that was our ideal agenda, we did not always manage that.
Eating dinner together when they’re older
There were times our table talk related more to misdemeanors and infractions on the parts of certain kids. Other times questions were asked and answered. When our kids had friends who parents separated, it became a part of our discussion. Naturally, our kids wondered if this could ever happen to their parents. As our kids grew older, theological discussions – with disagreements waxing long and loud – became part of our table talk.
This is why eating dinner together is so important. It allows the parents to hear what is on the minds of their kids as well as hear what happened during their day. One question we often asked when we were eating dinner together was “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”. The second part was, “What was the worst thing that happened to you today?” Asking these questions and providing a place for all six of our kids to answer gave us a finger on the pulse of their hearts.
when they come back home
I still think eating together is one of the best things a family can do. Sitting at the table brings us all together from different places and stations in life. It happens more naturally because it’s a part of their growing up and a part of being back home.
If we want our kids to gather around the table when they are grown, we need to set a place for them when they are young. As much as possible, make your dinner schedule fit around the family members. Certainly there are times that some of the family are missing because of obligations. Remember, the set time at which you eat is not as important as the people at the table.
When folks are at the table, eating dinner together is one of the times the fun of family begins. Coming to the table brings community and comradery to family. It’s a part of eating dinner together as a family.
Photo credit: Augusto Ordonez with Pixabay.com