Saturday, June 1, 2013

Family Dinner

When I was growing up, we almost always ate dinner together. Every night, whether Mom made a big meal or we picked up fast food, all six of us sat down at the dining table. Most of our friends who visited found this to be rather odd. "You mean you do this every night?" Most of the time. We always talked over dinner and discussed our day. Looking back, it was really special. My Mom would take turns asking each person how there day was, one of my friends who came for dinner at least once a week told me "your mom knows me better than my own mom". It was probably true. Most nights of the week my cousin or a friend or two joined us for dinner. My Mom still hasn't learned how to cook for less than 8 people. Everyone was always welcome at our table.

Now, before I make us sound too much like a made for TV family, let me say, we didn't always get along, not everyone was always happy to be there. That happens with four kids. Whoever was mad or on restriction would want to stay in their room during dinner. The rule was even if you weren't eating or on speaking terms with the rest of the family, you had to come sit at the table. Except for a few extreme times, everyone usually ended up at the table together. Of course there were nights where someone had practice, or was out with friends. Our talks were usually happy and lighthearted, but sometimes not. We weren't a perfect family, but we spent time together, eating a meal, talking, and sometimes, arguing.

Though my son isn't talking much yet, I still want to carry that tradition on with him. It's so easy to eat in front of the TV, not talking. We've done it, more times than I like. For the last few months, we've made an effort to turn off the TV, sit around the table, say a prayer together, and talk over dinner. I think it makes a big difference.

Anyone who doesn't already do so, I would encourage you to try this, even if you only do it once a week. It could be breakfast if everyone isn't home around dinner time. My parents managed to have family dinners with four teenagers on four different crazy schedules. I've heard statistics that say children who have family dinners do better in school,are less likely to get into drugs; I don't know how true they are, but it couldn't hurt.

The meals don't have to be elaborate, my Mom makes fabulous food that is very simple. She knows what works. I've shared her Goulash recipe here before. In coming weeks, I'll try to share more of her meals.

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