Saturday, February 11, 2012

The family dinner

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
~Ronald Reagan

I am a huge proponent of the family dinner. Sharing a meal around the dinner table as a whole family is one of those memories from my childhood that provides me with comfort and impacts the set of values I have developed throughout the years.

If Randy is home for dinner, 9.5 times out of 10, dinner is around the table. Occasionally, we'll have a 'picnic' in front of a movie, or the kids will eat first and Randy and I have dinner after they go to bed, so that we can reconnect without having to cut things, cool them down, refill milk, etc,...

When we all eat together, there are some things that I envision for what I believe is my 'ideal', all the while keeping the 'reality' in perspective. Right now, I spend a lot of the beginning part of dinner doing all the 'mom' type things that come with serving your family a meal. Typically, as a result, Randy and the kids are finished far faster than I am, which leaves the kids getting antsy and eventually asking to be excused. I'm left sitting alone at the table with Randy either beginning the eleaning up process, or entertaining the kids.

I'm sure you can guess that my 'reality' is overtaking my 'ideal'. There are a few other structures that I have recognized that we need to put in place so that we can create a meaningful and memorable experience so our kids will consider the institution of a family meal as a cornerstone of there set of values. I don't want it to become a rigid, formatted type of experience with a strict set of rules, but rather a set of 'norms' that we follow so that everyone is able to treasure the time spent together.

I came upon a website called The Family Dinner Project, which provides a great starting point for people like me, who has a good idea of what it should look like, but lacks the time in order to design and plan my proposition for change. Here's to a positive experience that will further deepens the impact of our time spent together.

Raegan: I love how this is your typical face on pasta night.  And I also *adore* how you're gazing up at your daddy.

Brynn: I love how your selection of beverages is what 'makes you feel better'

Gavin: I love your typical '5-year-old-boy' behavior.  Bizarre mixed with the perfect amount of silliness :)

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