The power of having a family meal together is not about eating. It’s about relationship. But how do we make family time together around the table a priority, and is it really worth the work?
Stacy chimes in as we discuss the ins and outs of family mealtime, and the unique challenges and blessings our family has experienced. Now that our kids are older, we can look back at so many memories at the table, having conversations, sharing life. At the time, the kids didn’t realize the impact of it. It was just normal. It was only when they went away and began doing life on their own that they saw what a valuable and unusual time it was. Now it is part of their DNA.
The Why Behind the Meal
The dinner table becomes a great opportunity for discipleship.
Young people are curious, and they want to hear from their parents and connect with them. If we are afraid of hard conversations, we are teaching them to stuff that curiosity down and go get their answers somewhere else.
Not much was off-limits at the Young family table. We’d show interest in their world. Conversations start on a lighter note, asking questions about school or friends, getting them to talk, and then the door would open to discuss real issues.
There’s also a lot of laughter, spills, and funny stories. Crazy things happen, and you can’t be deterred by that. Young folks are hungry for that kind of lightheartedness in their lives. They need a place to decompress where it feels comfortable, safe, and homey, and there’s peace there. Even friends notice what a peaceful – though not always quiet – place our home is. They feel safe and can let their guard down.
Whatever you have to do to meet together around the table as a family, you will not regret the time, effort, and energy you spend making this a priority.
The How Behind the Meal
Everyone’s situation is different. Figure out when and how it works for you to sit down together and break bread as a family. Maybe it’s breakfast before everyone hits the ground running. Dad, you have a significant role. Take the initiative and make this a priority in your own life. Set the time, and change as needed to revolve around the season and its activities.
Be creative. Dinner together can be picnics at the ball field or $5 pizzas around the conference table at work. The key is connecting as a family.
For older kids, activities may limit you to a few days a week. Start there and put it on the calendar. For younger families, pull the high chair up to the table and model the habit of sitting down together as a family.
Make a plan – it can be simple. Get the kids involved with planning, cooking, or cleaning. This is a family event, a way we can serve each other, not just a one-person task.
Make it distraction-free. Put the phone down.
The Results Are In
Even secular research has come to the conclusion that eating meals together produces high-value results and is one of the most impactful things we can do to help our kids grow up in a healthy way.
A blessing in this current crisis might lead us to begin new traditions and habits that will produce great fruit down the road. As we have more time to gather around the table now, share your own testimony and faith journey. Let the family know your heritage, the inside of you. Men, you are the priest of your own family. Appropriately share your life with your family, what you’re reading in the Word, and what you are learning.
“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 128:3-4
If family mealtime wasn’t a part of your DNA, set the precedent for your own family. Even if you have to start at zero, it takes work, but it’s worth the effort. The key is being together, finding what works for your family, and making it a part of your family heritage.
Check out the survey results from our 1 Quick Question Survey: “Men, When You Cook, What is Your One Speciality or Signature Meal?” HERE!