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Friday, October 12, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Meal Times

For most families the day is pretty hectic and everyone is busy doing this and that and heading off in every which way. But then...there's dinner time... the one time when everyone comes together, sits around the same table, shares their highs and lows of the day, and most importantly prays together and maybe even reads devotion. It's a time to reconnect as a family. That's my vision anyway.

Growing up, my family was great about almost always eating together, every night of the week. Whoever's home at meal time waits for one another and eats together. That's just the way it was. And I have a hard time even understanding life otherwise. We were never over-involved and now, 6 years later, Kevin and I aren't over-involved either. And if there is something going on, we adjust the schedule so we can eat together. Meal time is something of great value that I will strive to maintain as life does get busier, as more children come into our lives.

Here are some articles on the topic I thought I'd share with you...

The Benefits of Eating Together by Becky Hand
1. Communication--learn from one another, share news of the day
2. Model manners--good opportunity to teach good table manners, meal etiquette, and social skills
3. Expand their world..one food at a time--try new foods, from other cultures and countries
4. Eat healthier
5. Become self-sufficient--learn how to meal plan, grocery shop, cook
6. Prevent destructive behaviors--less likely to smoke, drink, use illegal drugs
7. Improve grades--higher academic performance
8. Save money--by not dining out

Family Time Together is Essential by W. FrankWalton
"Time together is the bonding mortar that binds family members together before God in love."
"For God to be first in our lives, His will must be regularly discussed and applied in our daily home life. What we truly love most of all will show up in our priorities, what we talk about, and how we use our time. To communicate the priority of loving God, we must spend time together. The daily "family hour" needs to be kept in homes that glorify God. Family traditions and shared activities need to be instituted and kept."

Whatever Happened to Family Meals by Susan Alexander Yates
SET YOUR PRIORITIES--"In order to make family meals a priority, you'll need to make some tough choices. It often means saying no to good opportunities, attractive extracurricular events, worthwhile causes, that extra hour at the office, even subtle parental peer pressure that suggests your children should play a sport every season....But in the long run, strong family relationships and a positive family identity are more important than chairing that fundraiser or having your child play on another team."

* Decide to be together certain nights each week and then do it.
* Take the phone off the hook.
* Prepare the meal or clean up together.
* Eat at the table facing each other. (as opposed to sitting at a counter)
* Have everyone come at the same time and remain at the table until everyone is excused.
* Ask good questions.
* Make meals a time of celebration.

It's Time to Bring Back the Family Dinner Hour by Melissa Good

"When we squeeze out the family dinner we sacrifice more than you could ever imagine. According to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the children that dined regularly with their families were 31 per cent less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs. Gathering around the dinner table with family members provides a comfort zone in this crazy world we live in."

1. Make family dinner part of your routine, same time every day
2. Plan for each dinner in advance, to save you time from running to the store every day.
3. Post your menu on the fridge, so family will not only plan to be there but look forward to the tradition.

What is mealtime like for your family? Does it meet your vision? What changes can you make to enhance this precious time together?

Previous Family Focus Topics (it's never too late to share your thoughts!):
* Halloween
* Your Neighbors
* Family Worship
* TV Time

1 comment:

According to HIS Power said...

This is great, Sarah! I missed last weeks so I will probably do both of them together. I am going to my sister's (4 hours away) this week-end so I probably won't get this posted until Monday or so. I have got a lot of packing and stuff to do. Just wanted to let you know that I will do it, it will just be delayed!

Keep it going; this REALLY challenges me!

Love and Prayers,