My family consists of four very independent souls, each of whom has his or her own interests. Even though we are often home at the same time, we aren’t always in the same room or even involved in the same activities. I think that many of today’s families can probably identify with this phenomenon.
However, it’s very important, not only for adults, but especially for children, to connect with one’s family. Today less and less families are doing so—in fact, some people barely even know those with whom they should be most familiar. Families these days must be intentional in making and maintaining these connections. It’s all too easy to get involved in and distracted by our everyday lives, leaving our families in some distant and abstract place in the back of our minds.
I think we must take our families back. In my family, we sit down to dinner together, each and every night. We sit at our dining room table, usually freshly set by my oldest son, and usually topped off by a homemade dinner I’ve cooked. We still sit together on the rare occasions that we grab fast food. We practice our best table manners, and we talk to one another about our days. We try to keep the conversation positive, and we make a point of involving each of our kids in our discussions.
When we started family dinner time, I felt restricted and overwhelmed by it. After all, for all of my adult life, I’d been sitting on the couch or floor or standing at the kitchen counter to eat. I resisted the change, and argued with my husband about it. Thank goodness he stood strong, though, for today, I couldn’t do without it. And I know that we are doing something good for our boys, just by being together for an hour or two each day as a family.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the ONLY thing we do as a family, but it is something we do each and every day, regardless of the day, and it’s consistent. After all, you gotta eat. Why not do it with people you love?
So, I want to make a plea to all mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and families of all kinds. Bring your family back to the table! I promise, even if it feels awkward at first, you will find that it will bring them closer to your heart as well.