I believe so much in Family Dinner that I think I could almost make myself preach a sermon about it (except I don’t believe women preachers are biblical)! So instead, let me write yet another post about its importance.
One reason I started adding recipes to my blog was so that I might encourage women that they could prepare a little ahead of time and have a nice Sunday dinner for their family. What’s the big deal any way? Why does it matter if we sit down and eat at the table versus everyone grabbing their supper and heading to the television or couch?
- Family dinner creates unity in the family. Everyone seated together unites your heart as you share the meal, the table and the experience.
- Family dinner makes memories. There are multiple kinds of memories – food, stories told, laughter shared, even delicious aromas.
- Family dinner enhances good manners. When you’re seated together at the table, loving instruction and example can be shared about the proper use of utensils and of etiquette.
- Family dinner gives time to work together as a family. Setting the table properly, learning to prep food, clearing the dishes, loading the dishwasher, washing and drying dishes all need to be done by all the family. Start with small tasks and lead up to greater ones as the children mature.
- Family dinner creates time to connect with one another. You can learn a lot about the day’s happenings when seated at the table.
- Family dinner is a great time to introduce new foods to your children. Ask that everyone take one spoon and give it an honest try.
- Family dinner is a great time to pray and share burdens. Pray for the meal before you eat, but then if someone shares a burden or hardship from the day, stop and pray.
- Family dinner creates a family bond. “Be home in time for dinner” creates in the heart of each child a place where they belong.
- Family dinner is a great time for children to bring home guests. Allow your child to invite a friend from time to time. All the reasons above will remind you why that’s a good idea!
A little structure is needed. I would suggest:
- Everyone gathers when called.
- No one leaves the table unless asked to be excused. Being excused is at the end of the meal, not to randomly get down and go play, then come back and eat a bite, then go play…
- Pass the food, teaching to take some and leave enough for everyone to be served.
- Try to keep things relaxed. Teaching manners shouldn’t be scolding constantly, but a gentle reminder. Lift your napkin to your lips and say your child’s name to remind them to put their napkin in their lap.
Mom, it’s really up to you to create the atmosphere. Try:
- Using cloth napkins (they’re economical and pretty, and far more sturdy than a paper one!)
- Add a centerpiece. Flowers from your yard, a bowl of fruit or a candle will do nicely!
- Turn on soft music to quiet the atmosphere. If you can’t hear the music in the background, someone’s being too loud at the table. =)
- Use your “good dishes” sometimes. Don’t save them just for company! Your family are the most important ones that will gather at your table!
- Plan your menu so you can prepare ahead of time. Everyone likes to know what they’re going to have for supper!
So, there’s my sermon!
What do you love about Family Dinner? What makes it difficult to make this happen at your house?
With love from my country kitchen,