Friday, March 6, 2009

The Family Dinner Table - A Relic of the Past??

We live in a microwave society. We want what we want and we want it NOW. Everything is go, go, go, do, do, do! We have to be here and we have to be the same time! We schedule band practice, ballet lessons, soccer games, PTA meetings, home school meetings, etc...out the whazoo! I didn't even know I had a whazoo until after I had a child! Now, I want you to sit back and really think....when was the last time you had meal as a family? Sitting in the McDonald's drive thru and scarfing down a grease laden bag of fries (although they do taste oh so good) and a burger doesn't count. I'm talking about the whole family sitting at the table, plates full of food before them, with no one having to be somewhere other than right there. The family table has become a rarity these days. I remember, on my good days when my senility is at a modicum, growing up and having a set time when dinner was on the table. I was expected to be home, relatively clean and sitting at my spot ready to eat whatever Mom put before me. I make it sound so "Leave It To Beaver-ish." Trust me, civility was, on some days, quite questionable and instead of a quiet meal our dinner table resembled more of a WWF Championship Wrestling Match.

Announcer: And now, in this corner-er-er, wearing the Girraffe Garanimals with a hole in the knee-ee-ee, weighing in at a whopping 45 pounds and able to spit a wad of meatloaf farther than he can throw a ball-all-all.....Jumpin' Jimmy Mills!

My mother, God bless her, had more patience than Job. After separating and securing us to our respective seats with a hard glare from her evil eyeball, we thoroughly enjoyed being together and eating the wonderful food made by her. Kids these days, and adults as well, are missing out on this great opportunity to not only nourish their bodies with food that didn't necessarily come out of a deep fryer, but to also nourish their soul with quality time well spent with the people they love. Yes, kids get a little out of hand at times, heck so do adults. The point is everyone is together. These are the times that we as adults look back on with fond memories. Don't you want your children to have that too? It's not as hard as it seems. I know that with everyone working hard these days it's sometimes difficult to come home and prepare a meal. I personally want nothing more than to get horizontal on my couch the second I come in the door. However, with a little planning and some help from the kids (this is not optional....they need to earn their keep lol), you can have a great dinner on the table at least 5 nights out of the week. Starting next week I'm going to have a few ideas on how the kids can help and how you can make dinner interesting for them. In other words I'll tell you how to bait and capture the little boogers so they actually are at home and enjoy dinner with the family. Chairs and whips are optional. If you have some ideas share them as well. I'd also like to hear some of your memories of mealtimes when you were a kid. Man, talking about years gone by makes me feel old. I need to buy a good wrinkle cream. Anyway, next week look for some meal ideas that get the kids involved and taste yummy too. Have a great weekend!!!!


  1. Amen, sister!! Being a dad now makes me see the importance of sitting down and having mealtime as a family as opposed to taking the easy way out with fast food. Looking forward to your next posts with meal ideas!!

  2. While our family ended up hybridizing meal times (we sometimes were allowed to buffet from the kitchen, and watch TV) my family also did the whole dinner thing. Now, I don't have a bundle of warm memories about any particular dinner (we weren't exactly a warm-fuzzy family, but anyone who thinks we should have been like some other family than we were can F the F off), but what it did instill in me was the desire for it. I miss it! I missed it in my relationships, when dinner was in front of the TV, I miss it eating alone (whole other issue), and I miss it when my family and I do get together as it's hit or miss if we do the sit-down thing. If there's no other reason to make dinner time a family gathering, it's that you don't miss what you never had.
    It's not the end of the world that this tradition is waning (let's not pronounce it dead quite yet), but it is a bit sad. What's the significance of taking a date out to dinner if you haven't had the intimacy of dinner being a family thing (isn't that what dating is essentially? Potential Family Testing?) It becomes a market exchange of goods, time and money for sex.
    Shelly, I so applaud you. People take the lazy way out, and blame. Society. Television. Church Attendance. Whatever. They blame but they don't do anything about it. If something's important to you, you MAKE the time, come hell or high water. If it's imporatant to you, it will inevitably be improtant to your children. That's how you break a cycle.
    You Rock. Get those kids to cook!