We enjoyed a nice dinner with family last night at TGI Fridays. Theresa was provided a gift card from her work as a reward. She offered to take the family out for dinner which was even a greater reward. Three different households were together at one table.
Family meals have always been important to me. I recall, from my youth western, movies where the cook would walk out of the ranch house and ring an iron triangle hanging from a post rafter and yell out, “Come ‘n get it!”
I was raised on a farm, so there was always work and we were very often away from the house. My mother would bang a large metal pan to signal us. It was always a welcomed sound. Family meals were a way to cement our relationships, share news and concerns, and enjoy each other’s company. It was even more special when my father was there.
Theresa did not eat breakfast when I first met her. I am glad to hear now that she has come to enjoy eating breakfast and sharing the morning meal. I enjoy cooking breakfast which is not only the most important meal but my favorite as well. We start each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving and then our meal. This reminds us to be thankful for all the blessings that we have and the ones that we will have throughout the day. We also have dinner each night with a prayer of thanksgiving as well.
It is a hectic world that we live in. Many family meals compete with school activities, social events, and hanging out with others. I would guess that some families might not have a family meal together even when they are all in the house together. We meet at our table with the television turned off. This gives us a chance to connect with each other. We talk about the events of the day. We discuss the interesting things that we may have read, seen or listened to. We share our schedules. We offer support to each other if there are concerns or worries.
Family meals are not a cure all, but there are many positive effects. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) of Columbia University found that the more often children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they were to smoke, drink or use drugs. CASA found that frequent family dinners make a difference.
The family meal is a great place to teach kids manners. A skill that may prove extremely useful when they enter the world on their own. When kids are involved in the preparation and cleanup, it teaches them valuable skills that they will need to take care of themselves and others.
Most of us realize and enjoy the importance of holiday meals, like Thanksgiving. This type of joy can be found everyday in simple meals, whether home-made or take-out. It is important to spend time with our families. Come ‘n get it! Food, love, support, companionship, you can have that and more during the family meal.