It’s interesting and encouraging to me that when we ask Tim what he misses most about being at home, his typical response is “I miss eating dinner together with the family”.
(The photo shows Tim joining us for lunch last Sunday using FaceTime. We loved having him for the conversation but he misses out on the food!)
Earlier this week, I read a news article about the powerful impact of family meals. This reminded me of a few quotes…
Ronald Reagan said: “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”
The Psalmist said: “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
I am convinced that a family dinner is an important part of the family dynamic and worth fighting for. Here is what our family dinners look like:
First, we eat. Stacy gets HUGE applause from me for her great efforts over many years to cook healthy meals and make necessary adjustments to allow us to gather for dinner. We’ve eaten early and late when necessary. We’ve had simple and complex meals, takeout and left overs…
Second, we focus. Distractions have been eliminated. We eat together with no television or electronics and even choose not to answer the phone so we can hang out together. Sometimes we read a passage from the Bible. Sometimes I share a blog post or a news article.
Third, we talk. We check in with each other. We hear about school, homework, sports, friends and life. We learn about struggles, victories and frustrations. We’ve talked about sermons, Bible Stories, creation, science projects, homosexual marriage, dating, marriage and missions.
Fourth, we laugh. It blesses my heart when our entire family laughs together. We laugh at jokes, stories, impersonations, situations, movie quotes, mistakes and life situations. Dinner is best when tears and snot are flowing because we’re laughing so hard!
Fifth, we plan. Our family has a lot of moving people and pieces. Dinnertime gives us a great opportunity to find out who’s doing what, when. And how we’re going to manage all the logistics. It’s important and helpful to know what everyone else is doing.
Sixth, we pray. Admittedly, we don’t do this enough, but it is glorious when we pray together for each other and the needs of other friends, ministries and missionaries.
Even the secular world sees value in family dinner. Check out this article for more encouragement to do whatever it takes to make family meals a priority.