Table for Four

 

Family Eating Lunch Together

For a number of reasons, but mostly ease our children transitioned from high chair to a toddler table smack dab in the middle of the living room in front the television. Since I would never talk about you, I will talk about me. I relished in the idea of being able to eat while my food was somewhat hot. They are learning independence I told myself. They are learning to feed themselves. They are learning how to share their space. I said a whole bunch of things to make it seem right to have them strategically placed in front the boob tube a synonym for idiot box.

Well the older they got the less likely they became to actually sit down and eat their food. Grazers I called them, after prayer they would take a bite, run a little; take a bite and play a little. Dinner became an all night affair and I was frustrated as I watched my hot home cooked meals turn to ice waiting for the mood to hit them to eat. Usually their plates were still full at bath time and bedtime snacks became their dinner.

So a change had to come and it came in the most traditional of senses…it’s amazing what eating at a dinner table did for our family. Okay so I admit that my kitchen table had become a catchall. It caught all the dirty dishes that didn’t make it to the sink. It caught all the coats, all the mail, all the keys…everything but a dinner setting.

Day 1 went something like this:

 “Why we have to eat in here,” Morgan said. “What about my show, I can’t see the T.V.”  We laughed and announced that from now on we were eating at the table for dinner. We explained that it’s important for us to talk to each other and to let our food digest by eating slowly. We followed up with reminders about table manners and having to ask to be excused from the table. And our children looked at us like we had lost our mind.

By the end of the week the conversation went like this:

“I like eating at the table,” Morgan said. “How come?” I asked. “Because we get to talk about each other’s day and tell stories,” she said. “So what do you want to talk about tonight,” her dad asked? “I want you to tell me a story she said. After a short pause my husband said “I have a true story to tell you about someone special that died this week, his name is Nelson Mandela.”

After a five-minute brief explanation of apartheid and Mandela’s life, my daughter interrupted and said “so he was like Martin Luther King.” Not a bad analogy for a 4-year-old hearing about Mandela for the first time. So we explained the differences and moved on to the next conversation, which happened to be about dessert. But I was happy, I was pleased that eating at the kitchen table encouraged our family. It helped us initiate conversation. It helped our children focus on eating and family time instead of looking for the next instant gratification through song, color and images on the “boob” tube.  Welcome, welcome, welcome to the dinner table.

Taylor 2013

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5 thoughts on “Table for Four

  1. I shared this on my face book page. Thinking back three decades or so, we held a similar debate each evening. As each of our three matured school, band, sports or work schedules competed with the family evening meal right along with TV. Maybe I am the sort who resists change period because I know I acted and sounded like a “dinner nazi.” In what seems Pollyanna-ish now we took a stand for family and one another in that dinner together, at the table every night. I held my ground on instituting a team effort to help set and serve plus 15 minute “everyone help clear the table and put left overs away. We also opened a Bible to read a passage together and discussed possible application and relevancy.

    Now at age 55, within a 28 year old marriage, it’s still a struggle to sit at the table together (the two if us) minus TV or being on our phones. We may share the kitchen space standing at or near a central counter island. I appreciate the reminder to revert to a former good habit. Media of any variety need not be included during the togetherness meal. We must have done something right as far as Instilling family meal time as priority. Our married kids are perpetuating the tradition in varying degrees.

    I’m counting down days to February. I have a date with Barnes & Noble. ~ Sharon

    Sent from my iPhone Sharon Ward

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by Miss Sharon. Your comment will definitely serve as confirmation to keep pushing on those nights when it seems easier to drop the mail on the table and revert back to the old and comfortable ways. Thanks for the support I’m soooo excited about Feb. 8th, God is sooooo GOOOOOODDDD to me in my singing voice.

  2. I can relate to this. My family and I have definitely been guilty of leaving everything on the dinner table such as dirty dishes and not eating at it when we should. My dad got fed up after a while and we agreed that all of us would be eating at the table from now on. We still eat in the living room to watch TV once in a while, but we just end up talking most of the time and not really watching TV like we planned to.

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