I recently came across this brief article by Brian Howard on why family meals are crucial.
Of course, this got me all weepy about growing up a Pearson.
Sitting together as a family – around the table – was NOT an option growing up. Until I graduated high school, if we were all at home – we were eating together. In fact, the ONLY time I can remember there being the slightest exception was on Thursday nights for The Cosby Show.
Were there times I hated it? You betcha.
Were there times I wanted to watch TV or play Nintendo or talk to my girlfriend on the phone? Of course. Who doesn’t remember the excitement that comes when you get to tell your girl that you beat up Mike Tyson AND got to the coveted 8th level on Super Mario Brothers. . . all on the same day!?!?!?
Were there times when I didn’t even want to look at my sisters or parents, due to various circumstances, much less eat with them? Yes.
Were there times I wanted to drive to McDonald’s instead of eat Tuna Casserole. . . again? Oh my, yes.
Would I trade those times for anything in the world? No way.
Do I do the same thing with my family of 5 now? Oh yeah.
1. I LOVE TO LAUGH.
You want to laugh? Eat supper with your family. There is a dynamic that happens that will have you rolling in the floor at/with each other that will not happen anywhere else.
2. I LOVE MEMORIES.
There are things we Pearson’s still laugh and talk about that happened at the supper table (Hey guys, “float a biscuit”???). If you make a habit of eating together I promise you memories for a lifetime that will be the topic at Christmas, birthdays, weddings, etc.
3. I LOVE JOY.
What I mean here is simply that I don’t want to go to bed at night with regrets. I don’t want to watch Luke walk across the stage to get his diploma and cry like a girl because of the opportunities I missed. I want to be full of joy and fulfillment during these times. The thought of my children driving off to college haunts me enough. I cannot imagine them doing this while I was thinking how I much I wish I would have turned off ‘Duck Dynasty’ reruns to talk with my kids.
4. I LOVE MY WIFE.
I think it honors the cook when we turn everything off, sit down together, and enjoy the meal she has worked so hard to prepare for us. It gives me an opportunity to teach manners to the kids. It gives me a chance to brag on what a great cook she is. It allows Katie and me to demonstrate what marriage and manners look like. If they don’t get it from us, where they gonna get it?
5. I LOVE MY KIDS.
Getting 30 minutes to an hour to talk with the family – just us – is the ideal time to talk about what happened during the day. It is a perfect – I think God ordained – way to find out what is going on in their lives in a ‘non-threatening’ way. If everyone is sharing, then it is weird when one person doesn’t. It is another way parents can get into the hearts and lives of their children.
I know life happens. I get that. I also know distractions are everywhere. When I was growing up, there were no cell phones. Heck, we had to actually walk all the way to the telephone when it rang. And even then it had this curly thing called a chord attached to it (crazy, right?). But I don’t think it is ever out of our reach for families to AT LEAST commit to sit down together – just your family – and eat together one night a week. Go ahead. Make the commitment. I can guarantee you will be glad you did.