Family Frameworks

The Dinner Table Keeps the Family Together


Mar 2013


I don’t know if you know this fact, but if the family eats together 3 times or more there is greater chance that this family will stay together and have a more balanced life.  In fact as I was reading an article about the family dinner time, it said that the more the family eats together the more healthy the food, the more conversation takes place and the more enjoyable the meal is.  Wow,  the dinner table is pretty important then.  I know that when my kids were growing up we made a family rule that the TV was to be off, dinner was at 6:30 and that you were expected to eat a bite of everything on your plate.  Seems like a simple idea and yes, but I’m not sure why so many people fail at this.  Only 37% of families have a regular dinner time.  Those that are not successful leave the TV on while they eat.  To be honest,  my husband, John and I have found that we violate this rule too frequently now that the children are grown.  We tend to eat out more often and eat in front of the TV more.  When we do, we find that our conversations are richer and we enjoy that time immensely.

Convincing families of this is a little tricky.  I am reminiscent of the scene in the “Blind Side” where Michael had just come to the family and spent Thanksgiving with the family.  On that day Leanne Touhy had not cooked but bought the meal and it was emphasized that she did this infrequently.  As all the family members made themselves comfortable in front of the TV to watch the football game, “Big Mike” went to the dining room table and sat down to eat his meal.  He had not had the luxury of a table many times and wanted to enjoy that small little luxury.  Leeanne noticed what he did and responded by calling all the family in, turned off theTV and sat at the table.  The scene was very touching to me.  I talk with so many families and encourage them to do this and they will tell me they don’t have a dining  table, but they have a TV in every room.  That makes me so sad for these families.  Such a simple practice can make a profound difference in the stability of a family.

Implementing this after years of not doing it is a challenge also.  The mom & dad must be the lead.  Preferably the dad making the supportive movement with the mom and making it a team effort.  I know my husband instituted the rules when my children were babies.  I think it was when they were big enough to sit in a high chair.  We have carried this habit on for 22 years.  Our children have so many funny memories of the dinner table conversations and the foods that we would eat.  I remember one move we made in changing the place of our daughter to a different place because she could not quit looking at herself in the mirror in the buffet.  Or the times when my husband’s kids would come over and someone would sit out of place, there would be a big ruckus as to “that’s not your place”.  Such fond memories.

What are your memories and how have you implemented this great habit in your home?

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