In this busy world of smart phones, Netflix, work meetings, extra curricular activities, church meetings, etc., Aaron and I have made it a priority to have a family meal every day. We turn off the t.v., put down the electronics and all sit around the table to eat a meal. Sometimes it’s a home-cooked meal, sometimes it’s delivery and sometimes Mom’s in charge and it’s frozen pizza, but there is always food and we always try to have a family conversation. We really want to connect to one another every day, and it works for our family to actually schedule that in. At first it was a bit of a struggle to make it happen EVERY day, but now it’s become a part of our routine. We don’t even have to think about it anymore, it’s just the normal.
With four kids ages nine and under we’re not looking for lively intellectual debates, but usually we have what passes for civilized discussion. We also try to use this time to teach manners – how to pass the salt, how to take turns in a conversation, keep your elbows off the table, complement the chef, try everything even if you don’t think you’ll like it, don’t talk in detail about your last trip to the bathroom…you know, the usual.
Of course, sometimes dinner looks a little like this:
Layla: What are we having?
Aaron: Asian chicken salad or pasta.
Sydney: It looks a little funny. *Cough* I think it’s stuck in my throat. Don’t worry, I’m ok.
Gwendolyn: I think I’m allergic to this food. It makes me do this *makes gagging noises*.
Me: You’re not allergic, just eat it. Tell me about school today.
(All at the same time)
Layla: I’m upset because my best friend isn’t my partner in any of our class projects.
Sydney: When I grow up to be an adventurer I’m going to have to carry a knife. What if I run into monsters?
Gwen: THERE WAS A LITTLE SNOWMAN, HE HAD A CARROT NOSE. ALONG CAME A BUNNY, AND WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE…
Layla: Gwen, stop yelling!
Sydney: And I’ll have to use cheetah power on the monster.
Gwendolyn: THAT HUNGRY LITTLE BUNNY, LOOKING FOR HIS LUNCH…
Layla: Gwen! I’m trying to talk!
Gwendolyn: Layla’s interrupting me! HE ATE THAT SNOWMAN’S CARROT NOSE, NIBBLE NIBBLE CRUNCH!!
Aaron: Ok, bedtime!
I’m sure we’ll have better luck tomorrow….