Family Dinner

When I was growing up, we always had our evening meal together as a family. I have maintained that tradition as much as possible in my life with my children, as I feel it is important that we sit down together and share a meal and conversation. At dinner, we can sit together, relax, and enjoy each other’s company while we are doing something we need to do anyway. After all, from my experience, there is nothing as effective as food to bring teenagers to the table.

Our family meals might start out calm and orderly. “Could you pour the milk?” “Please pass the salt.” “This is really good, Mom. Thanks.” But any time you have three teenage siblings in the same small space for any length of time, “calm and orderly” can unravel fast and stuff begins to happen. I’m just gonna say it: Our family dinners can get a little rowdy. Take last night, for example.

I don’t know how things deteriorated as quickly as they did, but it started with one of the younger siblings deciding that the oldest would be responsible for fetching anything that was needed—milk, salt, dessert, utensils. The jovial requests picked up in intensity. When younger brother said, “Hey C, can you get me some ice cream? Oh, and I’ll need a bowl. And a spoon. Don’t forget the ice cream scoop…,” C decided spoon, bowl, and scoop would be best delivered via air mail. And so, a spoon flew across my kitchen into the [thankfully] nimble hands of little brother.

“Did you just throw that?” I turned to ask. But by the time the words had come out, a ceramic bowl passed through the air from one boy to the other. “STOP!” I commanded. “Do not throw dishes and utensils!” Seriously? Why is this even something that has to be explicitly stated? This could have gone very badly, but thankfully, it did not. It was not until a few minutes later, when C was playfully tossing a cup in the air to tease me that he dropped it. At least that one was plastic. It does make me wonder what they do when I’m not home.

Come to think of it, this may just be the very behavior that has carved so many chips out of the edges of my dishes….

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6 thoughts on “Family Dinner

    1. That time together as a family is so important! There have been many nights over the years that we were not able to sit down together, with one child or another running off to an activity or meeting. However, the fact that family meals were my goal meant it happened more often than not, and it is now an expectation. With kids coming home from college for relatively short visits, it is nice that they still expect to sit down to family meals. ❤

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  2. In my work as an educator it is no surprise that children who have dinner with their parents, or in this day and age-maybe a mom or dad, aunt, uncle or grandparents (this far more prevalent) are less likely to make poor choices. In fact they are happier, have a higher level of sensitivity and start learning the importance of traditions. Good post, one that more folks need to read and try to have dinner, if not for just a few times a week then build on it.

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    1. I think people often discount the importance of this type of family time. When I was completing my graduate work, I read an article by Neil Postman in which he mentioned the correlation between time spent at the dinner table and literacy level, and that fact stuck with me. As you note, values and traditions are also stressed during family meal time. Connections are maintained that keep lines of communication open during the challenging adolescent years. There are so many benefits of family meal time. 🙂

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