This eating is more than just a physiological reflex. There is something to this eating that is far more lovely than responding to a natural impulse.
As much as we have a physical need for food, we have a deep emotional need for family, for being connected in ways that God designated for families. Both my husband and I grew up in houses where evening meals were the lifeblood to the family bond.
When I was a child, my parents were intentional about having the evening meal together, despite working and carting us around to activities. They were intentional about guarding dinner time from other influences. If the phone rang, they answered it only to ensure the caller was not in an emergency, and, when it was confirmed the caller was safe, she or he was informed we were eating. That was all that was said. That was all that needed to be said.
We sat at our 1970s style metal-frame, faux marble top table with those insanely hard vinyl covered chairs, and we indulged in the spreads my mom prepared, and in the time together.
It was during those meals that I learned:
-How to pray “Come, Lord Jesus”
-How to appreciate food I couldn’t stand (oh, the Chili Night Incident was memorable)
-How to set a table
-Why manners matter so much
-Why my dad hated pineapple, and other bio bits about my parents
And so much more.
I give all credit to this family ritual that today my husband and I are equally intentional about investing in the evening meal as a family. To us, it is absolutely essential to our family life. No one place can we instill so many values at once. No one place can we have the important, the silly, the heavy, the lighthearted conversations than at the table together.
There are times our table varies. Most days it is our own dining table. But other days it is a relative’s table or a restaurant table or a picnic table. On Sundays, it is our living floor while we watch and comment on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
This time together makes me feel rooted, like I belong to something special that doesn’t exist anywhere else. My hope is that my girls will come to feel this way too.
My husband and I know that someday all too soon, the table around which we eat will more frequently not be our own, or one person may be missing from his or her chair. But our aim is to have instilled in our girls the bond, the manners, the appreciation, the uplifting of gratitude to our Heavenly Father that when the day comes we can once again all be around the same table together, it will be like we never left.
I would love to share with you more of the lovely I find in everyday life, and hear from you! Find me at www.FindTheLovley.com. A sample of what you will see:
Dear Daughter: What I Really Want You to Hear This Back-To-School
Our daughters hear so much in this culture. This is what I wanted my little girl to learn young.
7 Ways Grief Changed Me
I lost my dad in 2013. I never appreciated how great of a teacher grief can be.
Thank you to Lisa Brown for letting me share on Me Too Moments for Moms! And thank you Sara!!!!
This has been a really fun short series on Family Rituals!!!! Thank you Abby and Christy for sharing your stories too.
Links to all four stories in this series