Nothing Like a Good Dinner

Found a great article on CNN.com the other day about “Why Family Dinners Matter” (click on the title to check it out). I’m a big believer in family dinners!

We’re not yet at the life-stage when family dinners are super tough to maintain: None of my children drive anywhere and no one has major nightly obligations (yet!). I’m sure once we hit the teen years we’ll need to develop some strategies to both allow for the reality of sports and other obligations while still keeping family meals a top priority.

Sometimes our family dinners are really special. I love to cook, so occasionally it’s a full-on meal with lots of homemade items. We sit together and talk about our days. We smile and laugh.

Other times it’s Velveeta shells & cheese, arguments, bad manners, and a smorgasbord of complaints.

But ya know what? I think both of these realities — and all the dinners that fall somewhere in between — are super important to a family rhythm.

The regular shared experiences of family meals becomes a glue that bonds your relationships. It establishes a priority into your family life: at such-and-such time, every day, we look each other in the eye and ask questions and listen. We shut out the phone, the TV, homework, and other stressors and enjoy the good gift of food and company.

What role do shared meals have in your family life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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7 responses to “Nothing Like a Good Dinner

  1. Thanks, Kelli, for a well expressed truth about the rhythms of life that mold us. I think that is true of rhythms for time in spiritual formation as well.
    Sometimes we spent together when our kids were at home were pleasant and happily received, others were spent with bickering even while we studied kindness or the like. But sometimes in the rhythm of it and often at a surprising moment some true insight or openness developed which wouldn’t have happened if we gave up because not everyone was pleased with the agenda of the moment.

  2. Meals as a family have been very important to us. I remember when the boys were young we would play word/question games to help them stay seated. Their dad often would have trivia questions – sports or Bible and now even tho they are both in college – he still does it when they come home and I think they thoroughly enjoy it. There are times (probably since high school)when the evening meal will last for an hour as we share and talk – those are the best times!

  3. I am big on family dinners as well. At our house there is not another option. We all sit down together to eat. It is not only great for family time, but the kids all knew they were welcome to invite friends as well. There is always room for one more at the table. They were always thoughtful to ask me somewhat ahead of time knowing the answer would be “yes.” And some of these friends now share our table as family as they are daughters-in-law and soon to be son-in-law.

  4. I’m a HUGE believer in the family meal. It was a struggle to keep it up with James’ changing work hours in the last year–at times it became family lunch, or dessert time where we all sat together for some time, but it was something *I* need, not just the kids. If its just me and the kids, I spend too much time correcting them or getting annoyed and I end up eating after them when I can read–not good! I’m so glad we worked through ways to do it in the last year, and will continue to do so. Mechelle, I love the idea of trivia questions to keep the kids involved! James likes to ask them math questions as well. We also make sure to talk about “something good” that happened each day with each kid.

  5. Family dinners are a huge priority for us. We are committed to not becoming a fast-food family, despite those nights when we have soccer practices, Girl Scouts, church, etc. We just plan to eat early. During these busy times, it’s not always easy for all four of us to sit down together, so we really cherish those nights that we are all together and the weekends. During the “off season,” we use our dinner time to not just talk and laugh, but from time to time we will select a country from the book, “Operation World,” and learn about its people, economy and pray for its needs.

  6. Where would I find trivia questions appropriate for preschoolers?

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