My children are each raised and married, one now with children of her own. They each turned out good, in spite of our many imperfections as parents. We were young ourselves when we first became parents, just twenty four years old. There was no way we could have been prepared for the challenges we would face in raising them.
If anything could have raised emotions within me, parenting certainly did …..
- waking in the middle of the night to be sure they were still breathing
- sleepless nights when they were sick
- middle of the night calls for prayer when they had nightmares
- fears they would walk away from God
- insecurity we would forever scar them and have years of counseling bills to show for it
- worry over the right schools
- worry about finding the right spouse
I have often been asked what was the secret, day in and day out, to parenting? Besides praying. Besides teaching them God’s ways.
My response? The dinner table.
As often as possible, we ate dinner together as a family.
My husband worked long days. But I found a way, most nights, to have dinner as aÂ family. Homework and baths were done before their dad arrived home.
It was around the table, we talked and share about our days. We laughed till our sides hurt or food spewed. They knew dinner was more than the meal on the table. They came to understand, it was more important what they brought to the table. Their words and thoughts and days were served out as well as the food. Rare was the night where we ate with one of us missing.
In her book, Rhinestone Jesus, Kristen Welch says this:
Dinner is about the conversation, the laughter, the being together. It’s about unplugging and connecting. (page 142)
Who knew, while my children were growing up, we were defining dinner in that exact manner?
Kristen goes on to share the results of a study showing the positive things which occur as families eat dinner together …
- Kids are less likely to use drugs.
- Families are noted as happier.
- Kids have better grades.
- Couples enjoy stronger marriages.
- Kids adjust better to life in general.
- Families produce healthier kids with better eating habits.
In the middle of my messiest of days, I had to choose to say, “Yes” to family dinners. It is true that in order to fight for my family, I had to fight for dinner. I waged a battle for dinner, to be had together, as many nights each week as was possible.
Dinner – a battle worth the fight!