Many of grew up knowing that whatever you did during the day, you had to have a very good reason not to be in for dinner time. I still remember my parents yelling out the back door of our house that dinner was ready. We would be playing ball till it got dark or till we were “made” to come in. Almost sounds strange today that we stayed outside and didn’t want to come in.
Several of our neighbors would help the parents out. One of the matriarchs of the neighborhood would say, “Your mom just called for you, it’s time to get home and eat.” You knew she was serious about helping the family get together because sometimes she would add, “I would do that now if I were you because I don’t want to call your dad and have him come get you.” Not sure we have that kind of parental help today and not sure how many families value dinner time. I really hope you do.
I once heard during a drive home as I was listening to a radio station that a study revealed that healthy families had two things in common (although many shared other similar characteristics), they did things together that got them away from the busyness of life (camping was the #1 activity) and they ate dinner together and talked without the TV and other distractions.
When my parents divorced my mom of course worked outside the home out of necessity, but she worked hard at getting us all together at dinner time. I learned the value of getting together over a meal (even though I sometimes, maybe often, complained about it). I also learned although things would never be the same, I still had a place to belong. We played board games and cards many times into the night until we again were wrangled into bed. Maybe it will be that you gather around the “Wi” or something else besides board games. I learned the value of fun and being together and it did not have to be an “organized” event. Not all sports events and other outside activities are bad, if not controlled however, they can be consuming, draining and also replace real one-on-one relationships.
When I got married dinner time became a priority and for years we would meet together over dinner and just talk. We sometimes had to say no to organized sports or limit each child to one activity (for our sanity and the children’s welfare). It paid off. Our children learned we loved them and that we valued intimacy over activity.
Please read below and talk with the Lord about your dinner time habits. The last paragraph has been italicized by me for emphasis. I pray God will use us to really bond with the next generation so they can respect us enough to listen to what we have to say about our God and our Biblical worldview, while also communicating to them how much they are loved. If you cannot do dinnertime, pick another way to truly bond. Intimacy is more important than activity. You will see the fruit for years to come.
Table Talk July 4th edition
She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household.
R. V. Brown was the sixteenth of 17 children. As he and his siblings arrived at the dinner table, he never understood why his mother stood in the corner with a bowed head. When he was older, he learned that she was praying that the butter beans and cornbread would make it to one end of the table and back without running out!
Of all the rich memories forged in his childhood home, this was the best: dinnertime. Everybody gathered around. Talking, listening and enjoying the laughter and noise of family togetherness.
He can still hear the older kids talking about the work they'd been doing that day. Or about what had happened at school. Another might tell a story he remembered from his stint in the army. And before they finished, R.V.'s daddy, who couldn't read or write, would lean back in his chair and begin sharing from his heart in that soft, arresting voice of his. Little bits of wisdom. Nuggets about how to treat people. Pearls about how to always give your best, settling little problems by using some patience and understanding and not hurting anybody.
I hate to think what the pace of life in today's families has done to memories like these. How many kids, when they grow up and look back on their childhood, will reflect on how much it meant for them to wolf down a fast-food hamburger in the car between ball practice and youth group? I think that what we stand to lose by consistently eating on the run may be a generation that has learned to value activity over relationship . . . and continues to feed self when they could be feasting together.
Give your children something they'll always remember: Give them dinnertime
Excerpted from Moments With You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Copyright ® 2011