For the past few years I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a stay-at- home- father. While all the other activities I engaged in daily were rewarding, few of them felt as gratifying to me as hearing my children (then ages 10 through 21) tell the family how their day had gone. The best time we found for our family to share these thoughts was during family dinner time.
Whether we have a family of just two…or a family of ten… having an opportunity to work on a single activity together will bring the greatest sense of security to the members of the family. Setting a table, preparing and then enjoying together even the simplest macaroni and cheese dinner can bring a sense of togetherness and belonging. It’s during those moments that we can take the time to hear one another’s complaints, share successes and discuss concerns. The bonds formed as we interact strengthen us in a way that provides us with the confidence we need to endure the outside world.
These days, however, so many families lead really busy lives. Some days, we try to meet the need of hunger as quickly as possible by driving through and eating in the car while running from one activity to another. Some families have two parents who work, and time for meal preparation and table setting is very limited. Still under these circumstances, taking the time to sit and look into each family members eyes and give them a moment of our most precious resource…time… can go a long way toward stabilizing even the most stressful family situations.
I found this little poem by Edgar A. Guest which inspires me to continue trying to create these times with my family…even when its stressful:
A tablecloth that's slightly soiled
The napkins kept in silver rings,
And only ordinary things
From which to eat, a simple fare,
And just the wife and kiddies there,
And while I serve, the clatter glad
Of little girl and little lad
Who have so very much to say
About the happenings of the day.
I found these resources on the web. Enjoy your children, develop their sense of security, teach them good habits and create the routine that will bring balance and security to their lives.