I think I may have done two things right as a parent: read to my kids and made the family meal a priority. Now, the table is not always loving set like it is above (for Annie’s homecoming dinner). But the world just feels “right” when we are eating together.
I had heard about a study that said the only major factor that Rhodes Scholars had in common was their participation in a family dinner. A recent study showed that kids who ate with their family were more likely to consume fewer calories.
I can’t tell you if this is occurring at our table or if a future Rhodes Scholar sits among us, but I can tell you that the dinner table is full of lively conversation and debate on topics of the day, what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook, drama (where there are girls there is drama…), the news, happenings at school and in the world. We will challenge each other to defend opinions, support each other when in doubt, and poke fun when we can.
The table is often extended to include friends and family members. Countless memories have been created around that table. It brings me back to my own family dinners. Eight of us sitting around a large table in a small kitchen. My mom had no counter space so the table acted as the counter until dinner was ready. I spilled my milk every day. I now defend my clumsiness as the result of sitting in the middle, as the youngest, and having to pass food back and forth the entire time.
Life was simpler. You played outside until you were called in for dinner. Today we are helping with homework, running kids to appointments, sports, music lessons. But I tell you, I hate doing those things late in the day. Yes, even doctor appointments. It messes with my meal plans!
Do we eat together every day as a family? No. But being with my family around the dinner table is one of my greatest pleasures. With two college kids passing by each other on breaks, I have a narrow window tonight where we can sit down, all of us, to dinner. Even my twelve-year old has chosen not to attend football practice so he can be home with his brother.
I think I have done something right.
Family dinner was important to us, too, when my kids were still at home. We’d move dinner time around to whenever it made it possible for us all to eat together. 6? 8? 8:30? Whenever! Now that the nest is empty, I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving and winter break when I can get my chicks back under my wing, if only for a little while!
Reading was also important, as was singing a lullaby and talking about their day, at least in their younger years.
What a nice post, Jane. Your family dinners sound absolutely wonderful! And that table is so inviting. Love the fresh flowers
golden bird knits