Guys, are you planning on doing some grilling this Labor Day weekend? I’ve got some compelling reasons why it’s a great idea – besides the obvious one that we all love burgers on the grill! 

Bear with me while I throw some statistics at you.  

According to the Food Industry Association, families who eat at least three meals together per week have children who are: 

  • 3.5 TIMES less likely to have abused prescription drugs or to have used an illegal drug other than marijuana or prescription drugs. 
  • 3 TIMES less likely to have used marijuana. 
  • 2.5 TIMES less likely to have used tobacco. 
  • 1.5 TIMES less likely to have used alcohol. 

There’s also evidence that eating family meals together improves family connection, and kids who eat meals with their families have an overall healthier diet, better grades, better self-esteem, and better social connections

Very compelling! 

But we know there’s something even greater we are trying to accomplish.

As dads, we are our children’s primary disciplers. Mealtimes give us multiple, consistent, daily opportunities to invest quantity and quality time into our kids. 

In The Magic of the Family Meal, Nancy Gibbs says, “There is something about a shared meal–not some holiday blowout, not once in a while but regularly, reliably–that anchors a family even on nights when the food is fast and the talk cheap and everyone has someplace else they’d rather be… you get a glimpse of the power of this habit and why social scientists say such communion acts as a kind of vaccine, protecting kids from all manner of harm.” 

I know with work, sports, and activities, it’s hard to get everyone together nightly like families might have done 50 years ago. One great benefit that came out of the pandemic is that more families are eating together. I guess we didn’t have a choice when restaurants and activities shut down, but we do now. The Youngs haven’t all been together at the table in person since our oldest son Tim left home, but he’s at least been able to join us virtually. There are ways we can begin having at least one meal a week together and using it intentionally to mold their hearts and minds to Christ, and we’ll give you some practical ideas for that in our next Walk and Lead

The key is that it’s not about what’s on the table, the roast beef, fancy napkins, or even good table manners; it’s about more than the meal. It’s about the hearts of those around the table.  

Practical Tip:  

Start with this. Pick 1-3 times this week to bring everyone together for any meal of the day. This weekend is a holiday weekend. It’s the perfect time to start. Many people have an extra day off and will throw something on the grill with family and friends. Get the family around the table, dining or picnic, indoors or outdoors. Put the phones down, turn the TV off, and begin with gratitude for the food the Lord is providing and the family you have around you. 

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. 

Psalm 128:2-4 

Need some ideas for what to cook? Check out what some guys say they like to make in our Signature Meals 1 Quick Question

Resources: 

The Power of Family Mealtime – The Noble Man Podcast 

Family Dinner – Fight for This! – Noble Warriors

Olive Shoots Around Your Table – Noble Warriors

FMI | Supporting Research 

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Family Dinner – Michael Kelley