Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dust off the Dining Room Table

Growing up my family rarely ate dinner around the table. Most of our meals were gobbled down while our eyes were glued to a sports event or some other random television show (that was probably a rerun anyway). I always thought that we were unique because all of the television shows we watched always showed the families eating dinner around the table. I discovered later in life that a majority of families (59%) eat dinner at least 5 times a week around the table, but that is not nearly enough.

It is so easy for us to treat our kitchen table as a "catch all." I find it easy to walk in the door and place everything in my hands onto the table and then I forget about taking care of the stuff. If we don't eat dinner at the table for a couple of nights there eventually is a pile of stuff and the kitchen table is no longer visible.

My wife and I made it a priority in our marriage that we are going to sit down at the table each night for dinner. Eating our meals at the table helps us to give one another our full attention. We're able to talk about our day and what is going on in our lives without distractions. We leave our cellphones, iPads and laptops in the living room. While we sit at the table eating our meal we give our full attention to one another (and our beautiful daughter).

I challenge each of you that reads this to make the same commitment to your marriage and family. Turn the TV off and keep your phones on silent. Give your full attention to one another while you're at the dinner table. If you find yourself siting in silence feel free to use some of these conversation starters by the Huffington Press.

If you need more motivation about eating dinner together as a family...check out these statistics...

  • Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004)
  • The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.)
  • Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)

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