We, as senior citizens, should make it a point to invite our children and grandchildren to sit down together for a meal, at least at dinner time. This will give them the opportunity to open out, and seek our advice on any problem that may have arisen. There will then be a better rapport between us and the children and grandchildren. And of course, better understanding. Those of you who come from large families, as I do, will have memories of childhood meals taken around the family dinner table, in an atmosphere of fellowship, togetherness, fun and laughter. These are memories that cannot be erased. These are memories that should be passed down from generation to generation. So many people have vivid memories of meal times in their childhood homes. Today this age old family tradition is passing away. Nowadays, if one goes visiting, we see children snatching food from the kitchen and sitting in silence in front of the T.V., discouraging all conversation. This tradition needs to be restored. As the children become older, and become involved in personal activities, it can be increasingly difficult to gather everyone around the table together.
Dinnertime is precious family time. When families re-group at the dinner table, they are carving out precious time not just to eat, but also to focus on one another, talk, share experiences, solve problems, ask questions, teach and learn. It is a place where we communicate with one another, discuss, debate, and of course, teach and discipline. It is a respite from the chaos of daily living. As parents, grandparents and children exchange news of the day, or react to community or world events, they communicate their values, political biases, morals and cultural tastes. Children reveal not only what is happening in their lives, but also what is in their heads and hearts. While all this is going on, the family as a unit is becoming a “We” as only people who spend many years breaking bread together at the end of each day can do. Dinner is the time to restore family life. An occasion when family members should communicate with each other. And just as important, listen to each other. It is a time to chit chat about friends, homework, plans for tomorrow, a time to ask questions that will make people think. We learn as much from the kids as they from us.
It is around the dinner table that lives of young children are shaped, moulded, and guided. It is the focal point that keeps families together. It is a time to get to know not only the physical needs of the children but also get to know their souls and spirits. It is an opportunity to find out what they are learning and thinking. An occasion to stimulate their minds and formulate their thoughts. A time to build happy memories and to build stability that will carry on into the next generation. The family meal table is a time for love and laughter. Use it as an occasion to celebrate special achievements. Talk about something special, talk about family memories, or stories of when the children were younger. The greatest part of eating is fellowship, and the greatest way to fellowship is over a meal table. What stays within us most from those unforgettable family meal times; is the feeling of knowing how important all are to one. Grandparents can do it best.
By: Therese Motha