I know I say this often, but “one of my favorite episodes of Andy Griffith is” when Aunt Bea is out of town and Andy and Opie are bachelors. The chicken burns to a crisp, filling the kitchen with smoke. Just when everything is at its worst, Peggy (single, attractive Peg) drops in. Andy’s afraid she’s trying to wedge her way into their lives to become his wife, so he is reluctant to accept her offer to cook them something decent for supper.
Andy – “Oh, we wouldn’t want to impose.”
Peggy – “You’re not imposing! It would be fun for me.”
Opie – “Let Miss Peggy have some fun, Pa.”
The episode ends with a lovely meal fixed by Peggy in an atmosphere that creates a desire for talking and music – unlike the bachelors had had before she stepped into her apron in their home.
This episode reminds me how much our presence does for our home. We create an atmosphere there. That atmosphere is what most homes need, and it happens just because you and I are present. A man can light a candle or cook a meal, but it’s usually the woman who sets the tone and setting at mealtimes. If she’s not there it’s just food. If mom’s there, it’s an event.
Mealtimes – it’s our way of managing, keeping, building and watching over our families. We listen to our family’s tones when they talk. We read between the lines when they share their hearts at supper. We can detect a burden when they pray for the meal, then we’re able to act on what we detect from their hearts. We pull them aside. We pray with them. We leave a Bible verse for them to find. We call the next day in the middle of the day to check on the situations. We’re watching over them.
We teach and instruct at mealtimes. This is the place where:
- Prayer is offered for the meal before eating. Let the husband take charge. Sit and wait. Don’t open your lips. If at last he doesn’t pray or appoint, then you may.
- Manners are taught – Mother takes the first bite. Napkins in laps. Teach how to properly hold the silverware and pick up the glass and not shovel in the food. Teach how to pass the food that is in front of you. Offer seconds – develop thoughtfulness, concern for others. No one leaves the table before mother does. If they must, they ask her if they may be excused.
- Conversation is made. Eat slowly. Mealtime is about fellowship as well as the food.
- Plates aren’t cleared until all are finished. If you’re feeling fancy, no stacking plates at the table. Here are some conversation starters at the table.
- We have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh!
Mealtime is a family event. Use it to build and watch over your family!
The other important ingredient in creating a home that is loving and caring is spending time together each day in worship. We can’t just give our family physical food for their bodies and not give them spiritual food of the Word, prayer and fellowship or they’ll get a terribly wrong impression! When we reward our children for physical or intellectual or social accomplishments and not for Christian accomplishments, they’re getting a system of false values.
Here are some tools for family worship:
- Short children at home mean short devotions. Longer children, longer devotions. Usually their age in minutes.
- Keys for Kids, Leading Little ones to God, Ergermeier’s Bible storybook for children
- Short passages of Scripture
- Sing a song – Action songs that require moving about
- Have prayer
If you’re the only parent, or the only one who desires to pull the family together around God’s Word, do it. You’ll be saying in essence, “Here I am, Lord and the children you’ve given me!”
Eating together and worshiping together will show (better than a perfectly decorated house) that you have a heart for your home. It’s at those times that you are best able to build, manage, and keep your home!
How are you doing at pulling your family around the table to share a meal? How are you doing at spending time with them in worship? You can start today!