If you’re overwhelmed with busyness as you work hard to serve your families, pause for a moment, catch your breath, and tune into some good news for those of us who are big on impact but short on time.
A Simple Answer to the World’s Problems
There’s a well-kept secret out there that gathering at the dinner table could do wonders, and I do mean wonders, for our families and for our communities. Such a seemingly simple and straightforward act can address so many of the things we want for our families:
- better health
- stronger relationships
- improved social skills
- heightened levels of confidence
- better grades in school
And that’s just naming a few. Regular family meals also help lower the rates of drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide, violence, dropping out of school, and stress levels.
Say what? Seriously? In one fell swoop?
That’s right, folks. You can literally change the world with 2.08 percent of your day – about 30 minutes – just by sitting down with your family for a meal.
The Magic of Mealtimes
Family dinners are like a vitamin for society – so much power jam-packed into one seemingly tiny event. But what’s the big deal? What’s so magical about family dinners? This time, the proof isn’t in the pudding (or the potatoes, the pasta, or the pork). Actually, the proof is in the people – when we gather together at the table, the table is no longer merely a piece of furniture constructed of four legs and a wooden top; rather, it magically morphs into a space where we can solve problems, share joys, communicate hurts, learn about others, and talk about the highs and lows of our days.
And even deeper than that, it’s a place where we can build each other up, a place where we can remind each other why we’re loved (because we all need that reminder), a place where we can learn and instill values, a place where we can encourage each other to develop our strengths and address our weaknesses, a place where we can help one another work out tough problems, and a place where we can brainstorm ways to reach out to others outside our home.
To sum it up, it’s a place where we can simply share the complexities of life together, and sharing life together is a beautiful thing.
Family Mealtimes Fill our Bodies and our Souls
The proof is in the people; the magic is in the relationships. You see, we weren’t made to do this thing called “life” alone. Even Jesus, the only person to literally embody the concept of perfection, valued (and desired!) relationships and community – He could have achieved all He set out to accomplish on His own, but he chose a different route. He chose to share life, and need I say, break bread, with others.
There’s something inherently good about sitting down with others to break bread, spoon out spaghetti, and dish out dessert. When we do so, we’re not only feeding our stomachs, we’re simultaneously feeding our minds and our souls. We are nourishing our bodies as well as nourishing our relationships.
Finding time to gather over a meal as a family several days a week may seem daunting for some. Maybe most? I get it. But I’m all about empowerment, so let’s go for that. Check out Part 2 for 4 steps on how to reasonably begin a routine of regular family mealtimes, and then check out my Project Gather section for more tangible ideas!