When I was growing up, our family always ate together at dinner. My mom and dad both worked, but my mom made it a point to always have dinner together. It was a time when we would catch up with each other. My sister and I were both very busy with sports and friends after school, so the table was sometimes the only time we could connect as a family. We ate fast food once in awhile, and went out to a restaurant about once a month. It was a special treat, not something that was done very often. We had an ultra small kitchen growing up, with a table that was pushed against the wall to make room when we weren't eating. When it was dinnertime, we would pull the table out and cram in. It was tight, but I have many memories of sitting down with my family and having meals and connecting with each other. I remember many wonderful meals, and lots of laughter. We live in such a different time now, and family dinner tables are becoming a lost art. Everything is so fast paced, and families seem to be connecting less and less with each other. It is interesting that we have all this technology to help speed things up for us, and yet it seems like we are busier than ever and have even less time. A lot of times families end up coming home and crashing on the couch and eating dinner in front of the TV. Everyone is too tired to talk.
Up until recently, I was doing exactly what I just wrote about. Our family was spending less and less time at the dinner table together. I would be tired from homeschooling and taking care of Evie, and Jeff would be tired from work, so I would make dinner and we would plop on the couch and eat in front of the TV. We would barely say a word to each other, and we would mindlessly watch TV. I started feeling really convicted that I was setting up such bad habits in my home. I hated eating in front of the TV. It is not something I wanted in my home at all, and yet I kept doing it. I realized I was being just plain lazy. I really realized what a mistake I was making in this bad habit when Evie announced to me that she hated eating at the dinner table, and that she loved eating in front of the TV. Yikes. I was responsible for that! Talk about conviction! I didn't want her growing up missing out on fellowship time at the dinner table. I wanted to make wonderful memories like I had eating with my family. I believe God intended us to sit around the dinner table together and connect. The Bible has many stories that center around the table and sharing a meal together, especially in the Gospels. Jesus had many times of fellowship that centered around sharing a meal. Since seeing the huge error of my ways, I have been dressing up my table more and making it look inviting. I have been lighting candles and putting on music each time we eat. We have been regularly eating at the table for dinner, and have started having some lively conversations. Evie is still asking for "movie night", but isn't complaining so much. Hopefully she will come to the point, like I did growing up, where she thoroughly enjoys sitting together for dinner at the table. I guess I am old fashioned in my thinking, but I think that people are missing out on something very special when they eliminate the family dinner table!