Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Family Dinner

I have always believed in the importance of family dinner. I grew up surrounded by it and I will always be grateful for it. I really looked forward to my grandma's table when I was younger and my cousin and I would start asking early in the day what was planned for the evening meal. I know we both look back on those times with pleasure. It didn't hurt that my grandma was and is an amazing cook!

Today with my own family I try very hard to carry on the tradition. I firmly believe it is an absolute in today's family life. I know it is so hard to implement every night with varying schedules, work, sports and stuff. Life is just plain busy. But, I also believe we need to make it a priority to carve out some time to share a meal together whenever possible. Everything I read indicates the importance of family meals. From healthier lifestyles to better grades, facts point to the home (a healthy home) as being the stabilizing force in which a child truly benefits.

Before Ray and I had kids I would still cook pretty often, although we would go out more because we were childless and we had a lot more disposable income, thanks to both of us working full time. I do remember that we would try and eat meals at the table when we could. Not sure if it helped any but perhaps it gave us a stronger foundation in carrying it over to our kid's mealtimes.

I am reading a great book right now called "The Family Dinner" by Laurie David. A great read with wonderful recipes, traditions to start and ideas for making the dinner table a place of respite. The value of the investment becomes evident, especially as the children grow older. I think it must be really hard to do a family meal when kids are older though, given their busier schedules with sports and school. I'm sure many of us will realize that way too soon!

Quality conversation can be had when "enjoying" a meal together. Everything from "Do I have to eat this?" to "When's dessert?" You know, things that really get ya thinkin.'

I used a couple ideas last night that basically flopped. The Rose and Thorn game. Everyone goes around the table and shares both their highlight and their low point of the day.

I guess the Obama's play it at their dinner table. Can you imagine when Barack has to share his low? Wow, that is one way to change the mood of the evening.

"Well, there was a huge oil spill today and is killing wildlife at any obscene rate."

Or maybe,

The Republicans will be taking over the House."

Or perhaps,

"There was a horrific shooting spree at a grocery store in which many were killed, including a 9 year old girl."

I don't envy those conversations.

Wow sorry, I totally rabbit trailed there. Anyway, Will shared the low part of the day was when I told him he couldn't play an XBox game and he made the decision to cry about it. His highlight? The fact that he got to play at the park during a rare burst of sunshine.

I won't share Ray's low because he had to deal with a problem at work but suffice to say it wasn't a great way to start the morning! So, now that we were all depressed over that we decided we wouldn't play that game again! :)

Maybe from now on we will stick to sharing ideas of a perfect birthday or favorite ice cream flavors!

And now, a blessing for the children to include at your table if you feel so inclined,

"May all the gifts hidden inside you find,
their way into the world.

May all the kindness of your thoughts
be expressed in your deeds

May all your learning lead to wisdom, may all your efforts
lead to success, may all the love in your heart be returned
to you, may God bless your body with health
and your soul with joy, may God watch over you night and day and
protect you from harm, may all your prayers be answered."

~ Rabbi Naomi Levy

More ideas to follow on this little subject called dinner, maybe a recipe here and there.

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