The Family Table
by Terri Bonin
If I could get you to make ONE commitment as a parent this month it would NOT be to add another outsider activity to your list of “to do’s.”
It would be a simple, slow-down request. It would include warm food and eye-to-eye contact. It would involve being home around the table as a family several times a week simply eating, talking, and connecting. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
It’s relaxing and inviting.
Imagine having that type of enjoyment regularly with the ones you love.
Now back to reality…
If you are a typical family the calendar you keep makes this precious, memorable time nearly impossible, which is sad because our kids are growing up fast!
We run to and fro with the activities we deem important, and one crucial ingredient in parenting gets pushed off the schedule. It takes intentional planning and effort to make the family table happen. It is so much easier to let family members eat from the pot on the stove as they come and go.
But the evidence is overwhelming that eating dinner together as a family impacts children in a powerfully positive way.
1) Eating dinner improves psychological health, as well as lowers rates of alcohol and drug abuse, early sexual activity, and suicide.
2) It improves academic success.
3) A study with preschoolers showed that mealtime conversations build vocabulary more effectively than listening to stories or even reading aloud.
4) Eating as a family also decreases the likelihood of adolescent girls having an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
The results of these studies are proven and easy to find on Focus on the Family and in a wonderful book called The Table Experience by Devi Titus.
It’s not easy for our family either, but because it is important, we adjust and have dinner SUPER EARLY or REALLY LATE.
The family table is such a great place to build a sense of safety and security as the kids tell of their highs and lows of the day. We grow closer as a family during this activity as we learn more about the soul of each family member. This activity also offers a perfect time for parents to validate hurting souls and encourage budding dreams.
Seize the day with your kids. Set the table. Sit around it with your loved ones and stir up conversations with your kids.
I challenge you to commit to setting the table and sitting down with your family 3 times this week.