The Family Meal: A Novel Idea in 2012?

Still looking for a resolution for 2012? You might be wanting to lose weight, get more sleep or spend less. While these are all worthy goals, there remains one that gives far more lasting benefits.

Consider taking meals together. Talking over current events, praying together, and enjoying each others’ presence over a meal at home, no matter how simple, will keep on paying dividends well into the next generation. This may be one of the best resolutions there is!

There is something about a shared meal–not once in a while but regularly, reliably–that anchors a family. Certainly physical nourishment is important, but when we share a meal together we share much more. We share our time. We slow down, even if just for a few minutes, and show that we have time to take interest in others, to care for them, and open our hearts to them…to show them love. Such communion acts as a kind of innoculation, protecting children’s hearts from all manner of harm.

Time Health Magazine stated: “It’s in the teenage years that this daily investment [of eating together] pays some of its biggest dividends. Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use. A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.”

The researchers found essentially that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be, the less healthy the food and the more meager the talk. Also they say, the older that kids are, the more they may need this protected time together, but the less likely they are to get it. Busyness and parental self-interest seem to be the culprits.

This is right where we are in our life. Our young people are almost 19, 19, and 21. We are their confidants and coaches, and they desire our time. I make sure the blog and other duties don’t take over my time!

So turn off the radio or the TV (better yet, get rid of the TV), pull up the chairs, pull out a simple pretty tablecloth, let the answering machine take the calls, and just see where this good habit will take you!

“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” ~ Prov. 15: 17

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