For instance, one particular dinner this week involved a massive "paper, rock, scissors" competition between all members of the family. It was amazing! Sometimes we have dessert before dinner. Sometimes our daughter "performs" a song for us. Sometimes we just watch movies on the laptop. But we always have dinner together as a family, and we always do it around our family dinner table.
The family dinner is a dying art in many homes these days. I can't say that I grew up in the type of family that had dinners like this. Growing up we didn't even have a dining room table, so our dinners were facing the television in the living room. I won't fault anyone for this, but there is nothing that I cherish more in our family than those moments of smiles, laughter, and easy conversation. Dining together at a table puts us face to face with each other, where we can see the subtle changes that we might miss each day in our loved ones.
When we were a two-income home, dinner was a time to relax and ask questions about each others' days. It was great hearing our children sharing exciting moments and proud accomplishments from their day. Even Hubby and I would chime in with anecdotal moments that we may have had, and sometimes we even had the chance to share life lessons based on our work experiences. Now that we are a one-income family, I already know everything that the kids have done during the day (!), but our dinner time conversation gives us a chance to share what we are proud of from the day with Daddy.
I once heard about a family that, once a month had spaghetti night. Alright, how exciting. (Sarcasm). No, these people HAD spaghetti night, as in OWNED it. Once a month, they would make spaghetti, spread a plastic table cloth over the dinner table, and DUMP the spaghetti into the middle of the table! Can you imagine how much FUN you could have digging into a giant pile of spaghetti? Can you imagine how much cooler that would be if you were a kid? I haven't been brave enough yet to try this, but it has always appealed to my inner child. I just might have to do it.
If you don't already, I'd like to challenge you to have dinner as a family at least five days a week. I know we all have super busy lives, hectic schedules, and gosh only knows what kinds of distractions, but I believe that this one thing could change your entire family dynamic! If you can't have dinner as a family, perhaps get up earlier and have a family breakfast. You can't share the events of your day, but perhaps you can share your dreams with one another. I think that would be a lot of fun!
As a secondary challenge, during your dinner/breakfast/lunch, make sure to be spontaneous! Your children will have such amazing memories of the things that you do and say around that table together. Dinner doesn't have to be stuffy and dull! Make it into something that the whole family anticipates every night.
Now, who's up for spaghetti?