When I was growing up we always ate dinner together as a family, every night. We didn’t call it Family Dinner Night. It just was. Times have changed now and families rarely are on the same schedule. Since the Road Warrior travels frequently for business, eating together as a complete family is not a nightly occurrence. Even for families who are blessed to dine together nightly, the time is often wasted due to the hustle and bustle of busy schedules. Little time is spent savoring the meal, much-less the company. It’s human nature to take our time together for-granted. To allow life to distract us from living. it doesn’t have to be this way of course. Not if we are intentional about our time together as a family.
Ideas for creating intentional moments during Family Meals:
Make it your own. If your schedule doesn’t allow for a nightly family dinner, what about breakfast? If eating together nightly isn’t a possibility what about weekends?
Make it a Family Affair. Involve your children in setting the table or preparing the meal. If you have more than one child consider having a different child help you in preparation each day/night. This will allow some special one-on-one time before the meal.
Make it an occasion. Instead of just going through the motions of dishing out the next meal, make it special. Set the table. Eat in the dining room. Use cloth napkins. Play relaxing music in the background (and turn off the TV).
Practice the art of Conversation. Conversation starters could include: a discussion of highs and lows. What was the high point of your day and what was the low? Encourage everyone (even the smallest child) to share something that they learned, did or thought about that day. Ask questions: If you could have any super power what would it be? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Don’t ask the usual questions.
Create Meal Traditions. By marking a special day with a favorite family meal you not only create a tradition, but something to look forward to throughout the week. Consider having Taco Tuesday, Pot Luck Sunday, Pizza on Friday, Sunday Brunch, etc.
Be present. Take it all in. Don’t answer the phone or door. Don’t think about what you have to do next. Look at what you have now. You will never regret the time you spent with your family enjoying a meal together.
Would you like to be more intentional with your family meal time? This week I challenge you to make a change. Start with one meal and incorporate the ideas above. Then make a commitment to keep it up for 1 month. You can do it. I know you can.