Growing up my family and I always ate dinner at the table. As we ate the meal my parents had made for us (mostly pot roast), we would talk about our day. Sometimes my dad would read to us a passage from Scripture or a chapter from one the books we were reading as a family. Sometimes I would hide broccoli in my napkin. Both of my parents worked, yet they still found time to sit down with me at the table. We weren’t rich, and no amount of money could make up for that time together.
Family dinners were one of the ways my parents loved and invested in my sister and I. We each had our own place at the table and I felt like my opinion mattered. It’s about enjoying the simple things in life: love and connectedness around the table. We got fed- both physically and spiritually.
Today, as we juggle busy schedules and distractions, family mealtime almost seems archaic. So very Leave-It-To-Beaver. We trade personal, physical connection for social media and t.v. time. In America we are conditioned to be productive and efficient, and the family dinner calls us to slow down. We don’t like that. And out of all the cultures, Americans seem to appreciate family dinners the least. Yet studies show that kids who eat dinner with their families are less likely to get depressed, drop out of school, and get into drugs, sex and alcohol. Because home-cooked meals are usually healthy, they are also less likely to develop obesity.
What an amazing difference a small thing can make! Perhaps most of the problems in our culture can be attributed to misplaced priorities.
I hope to one day have my own family. I pray I will make my family a priority and not let a hectic schedule, job, or cell phone get in the way of sitting down to eat with my kids.