I have been busy trying to finish writing my book and I have asked the kids to step up to the plate and help out with dinner. Hence, the question I posted on my facebook the other day, “why does everyone ask me what if for dinner?” I was busy writing that afternoon. The closer it got to the dinner hour, the more visitors stopped at my door and asked, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Couldn’t they see that I was writing?
Dinner is such an important meal for the family and during my busyness I had overlooked the foundation of me in that equation. My family had always made it a habit to sit down together at the table for dinner. They all relied on me to manage the meal. I assigned someone to set the table, get things out of the fridge, slice the needed veggies and call everyone to dinner.
Over a decade ago, Bill Carmichael, author of Seven Habits of a Healthy Home was a guest speaker at our church. He spoke of the importance of a topic of discussion at family mealtimes. We added that habit to our home and have continued it to this day. It such a simple concept, yet so hard to do in this face paced culture. The family sits down at the dinner table and a topic is selected. When my children were little, it was often as simple as, “My favorite thing that happened today was…..”or fun ones such as “what I wished happened today..” and each person would launch into a tale of knights, fairies and far away lands. As the children grew, the topics became more in depth, such as “share with the family the current book you are reading and tell us about it.” Now the topic range from, “my goal for the summer is..” to politics, movies and their ability to stick to the book, favorite summer vacations and more.
Nancy Campbell has a wonderful dvd on the importance of family mealtime. I just watched it a few months ago, Sonya, a friend and adoptive mom, asked me to watch in and let her know what I thought. I watched it and some parts of it twice. It confirmed everything that I had been doing for the past decade. Nancy speaks of the importance of family meal time being a priority. This means that the family sits down at a dinner table together at the same time.
. Throughout the scriptures, Jesus is seen breaking bread (eating dinner) with his disciples, and feeding those who come to listen to him speak. (Matthew 15:32-39). Meeting physical needs was important to Jesus. If they weren’t, he wouldn’t have gone about healing the sick, He would have just said-“Hey, just be more spiritual, forget about your physical ailments!” But, He didn’t, because he knew that meeting physical needs comes first. At the dinner table, the physical need is met with food, then the emotional need is met with conversation. The conversation allows the family to connect.
“Nurturing through food is not just about calories. It can be about making dinner fun and eating meals together. Preparing food, enjoying it, and even cleaning up after the feast are all part of the rituals of most families. Whether we like it or not, food is important to most of us-and to our children.” Parenting the Hurt Child, page 93
So, what did I do about dinner that evening? Okay, I compromised on the fixing a little. Damian offered to go get some take out burritos and I loaded up the rice steamer. We sat down at the dinner table together and talked about the day, climbing Mt. Everest, or something like that.