Multi Generation Family Celebrating With Christmas Meal by www.123rf.com
(Grandmas Hands) Multi Generation Family Celebrating With Christmas Meal by www.123rf.com
Today's family dinner
is normally everybody eating a pizza in their own room. No more family sitting at the same table and
praying before the meal. No more healthy big meals that mama sweated over all
day. No more dads sitting at the head of the table. No more talking about the
day's activities or what is going on in school. Or what is new in everybody's
lives. Dr. William Doherty and Barbara Carlson, authors of "Putting Family
First: Successful Strategies for Reclaiming Family Life in a Hurry-Up World" Introduce
the concept of time famine. In
essence, families are struggling to find the time to sit down together for
dinner because they are overbooked with work commitments, extra-curricular
activities, and have been competitive culture to live in their cars. Family
members are not sitting at the same table and preying before a meal; nor are
they eating healthy meals that mama sweated over all day.
Fathers are not taking
their place at the head of the table and conversations that used to be about
the day's activities or what is going on in school, are becoming extinct.
Instead what you have are parents working two jobs or long hours at one job to
make ends meet. On top of that, you have kids who are being shuttled from one
activity to another while eating fast food in the car. Our consumer culture has
contributed to our kids being impatient and obese.
The family dinner has become a thing of the past. Even the Sunday dinner has turned into a microwave instant meal that has no meaning to the members of the family.
I can remember a time
when I used to watch my grandmother work her magic over a wood burning stove,
this was after she got everything she was going to cook from her garden in the
back yard. I remember sitting down at
the table to mixed greens, peas, corn on the cob, homemade from scratch hot butter biscuits and fried chicken, you get the picture but the thing that sticks
out in my mind is that the meal was prepared by hand over a hot flame on that
black wood burning stove! And we all sat
down together as a family to a great meal.
It took time for our parents and grandparents yours and mine to prepare
the family meal, and when we all sat down at the table you could taste the love
and care they put into it.
But today we can run to
the super market pick up that rotisserie, readymade biscuits in a can etc. come
home pop it in the microwave for a ready to eat meal where everyone helps
themselves and sets down in front of the television, in the home office, and in
some families I have seen they actually go into the bedroom set on the bed and
have their meal. Families need to get
back to the dinner table and make the family dinner fun not a project. There is a national push by First Lady
Michelle Obama to have family dinner reinstated in America. She often speaks
about the value of sitting down together, eating a meal that has been prepared
from fresh ingredients and connecting as a family. First Lady Obama is a
proponent of families growing their own gardens in order to gain access to
nutritious food. So how can the family reinstate the family dinner and family
time? Simple: schedule it. Almost all Americans operate by a calendar and fill
their days with plans and appointments. Family dinner time should be no
different. There has to be a focused effort from the adults to make family
dinner time a weekly a weekly habit.
If you cannot commit to
a family dinner with your children every night due to scheduling conflicts,
start small and pick two to three days each week where your family dinner is a
must. Make grocery shopping an educational experience by including the
children. Have those help you look at sales flyers and help you budget for the
cost of the meals. Allow them to accompany you to the grocery store and
identify fruits and vegetables. Compare food labels of store brand products
with name brand products to determine if the only difference between the two is
the price. Face to face conversations with children ensures proper social skill
development. Children cannot resort to texting or wanting to surf the internet
when they are actively engaged in family routines and learning valuable life
skills at the same time.
Teaching children how
to set the table, how to have proper table manners, and how to help clean up
after a meal provides much needed structure in their lives. Naturally, children
and especially teens resist such efforts because they rather be doing something
else; however, raising children takes a lot of work and sticking to the rules
when it comes to preparing our children for life should be a top priority.
Dinner is a time to help our children understand family values and morals about
how to navigate at school and how to select positive friends.
According to Dr.
Doherty, parents can turn cleanup time after dinner into a discussion that hits
on the harder subjects of dating, drugs, and sex. Parents are the child's first
teachers and as young people they need to know where the adults in their lives
stand on the tough issues. The pressures of society are eating our children
alive, but parents are the first and most important line of defense in
redirecting the lives of the youth. If you need help starting a conversation
with your child, pick up a parenting book or magazine. Talk to other parents to
find out what works. Take back your authority and instill discipline and
respect in your child. Family dinner time is an excellent time to have these
conversations. Don't let processed food from the microwave provide the meals
that your hands should be preparing. Make time for family dinner by putting it
on the calendar for everyone to see.
Dr. Carlton Young
Read more about his principle at his web site: http://www.carltonyoung.com ;