The Family Table. Does it happen at your house? In many homes today, the family table has been lost. It’s become obsolete. Today’s families are eating on the go. But dinnertime is the one time of day when you can actually have a conversation with your family. It’s not supposed to be rushed. It is supposed to be a time to connect with one another and celebrate your life together.
Do it for your kids. When I was growing up, my mom always made dinner, and we ate together each night at the family table. My dad traveled quite a bit, so when he was home, it was even more of a festive occasion! When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to pass that on to my kids. I envisioned it being a time to bond—a time to really talk to each other. My children are young, and much of the time, our family table is a time of craziness! The kids refuse to eat. They won’t sit still. They start to fuss. And inevitably, someone has to go to the bathroom as soon as we begin! But one day, it will be easier. As I stay consistent with the family table, it will eventually be that place where we reconnect at the end of a busy day. My kids will know it’s a safe place, a comfortable place, to talk about their day and ask questions.
Do it for Dad. Lots of dads travel like mine did, and most spend long hours at work. The family table is where your husband has one of his best opportunities to link up with his kids. It is his chance to lead the conversation, to lead in prayer around the table, and to lead the kids in an attitude of gratefulness for the blessings of the day. Sitting together around the table, and lingering there, shows the kids that they are important to him. It’s their time to learn about each other.
Do it for you. Kitchen time is quality time. Think big family get-togethers and annual holiday traditions. Where is the laughter and fun? Not so much around the TV, but in the kitchen! The family table begins with you, and you can enjoy training your children now to help you later. One child sets the table. Another child helps clear it. One child helps with cooking. Another one helps with putting the leftovers away. There is always something your children can do to help and be involved. Working together for the good of the family will take your relationship with your kids to a different, deeper level.
When it comes to the family table, hang in there! Remember, you’re setting the example of what’s important: Being together, working together, and being a family. The family table says, This is what we do. This is what a family is. There are a lot of options and activities vying for your evening time. It’s worth it to say no to other things, in order to say yes to the family table.
Kelly Hancock is a wife, homeschooling mom, author, and speaker living in Nashville, Tennessee. An exile from corporate America since becoming a stay-at-home mom, she learned quickly to live on less than half the family’s former income. With no special training (and an initial repulsion to budgeting of any kind!) she figured if she could learn how to do it, anyone could. As she mastered the principles of what she calls, “Grocery Savings,” she began sharing her knowledge with others on her daily cost-cutting blog, FaithfulProvisions.com. Look for Kelly’s new book, Saving Savvy, which hits bookshelves September 6, 2011. Her saving secrets will help readers cut their spending in half—even before they clip the first coupon!
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