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Mommy and the Joyful Three

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Erin James is the author of a mom blog on whattoexpect.com. She is a mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.

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Why Family Dinners Matter


I have an awful confession to make… we rarely eat dinner as a family anymore! Since I began losing weight, I’ve lapsed on family meals because I’m cooking separate food for me.

When I was a child, dinner was at 5:30 pm sharp. My father would walk through the door around 5:00, wash up and we would all sit down to eat.

Strangely, while this was a time for us to catch up and discuss our day, it was also the time I feel I received the most parenting advice. My parents were big on table manners. We were even taught that we must ask before leaving the table or grabbing for seconds.

My brothers and I learned respect during these family meals, for the food and for our parents. Dad worked very hard to provide for us; and our mother worked hard on keeping the house maintained. Grace was said with true thankfulness every night before we ate and we took turns saying it.

Also, while this was a time for respect and discipline, it was also a time for laughter and fun. There were not many family meals without some kind of laughter and smiles all around.

So, why should we bring family dinners back to our own house?

I rarely saw my father. He worked hard and was always busy. Dinner and church on Sunday were the times I could count on seeing him. It was important for me to have that with him as a child. He would sit at the head of the table and talk to us about what we were up to, even as we grew older this never changed.

Stability is so important for children. They like to know what comes next. Lately, I feel like my own household, because of a recent move, changes and marital issues, has fallen short in the tradition department.

After a long day in school, what better way to show that they are always a part of something, a family who is always united, than having dinner together.

Psalm 128:3-4 says: Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

The Bible talks about coming together and allowing the table to be a center piece of your household that your children grow around.

When I first got married, the novelty of takeout around the television was exciting. For someone who grew up with a structured dinner regimen, it was almost as if I was rebelling against the system.

But, no television family is going to compensate for true family time. Don’t lose that bond you have and the memories you have by choosing that instead of spending time with your children and husband.

The other day, a friend of mine mentioned that her grandson noted one morning that it was nice that everyone was sitting together eating. He was calling out the fact that it had become a rarity for them as well.

I hang my head and admit I’ve been known to retreat to my bedroom with my own meal during dinner. I excuse this as my ‘me’ time. But, I am missing on so many memories with my children by doing this.

I vow to do this no more! I am instituting what once was a tradition in my family. We will eat and laugh and talk together.

No more running around last minute trying to decide what to eat. No more last minute takeout orders when the night slips away. Dinner will be something my children expect and anticipate every night.

Do you have family meals? If so, do you find it hard to make this happen every night?

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:20 PM

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