Last week, I shared about the importance of having mealtimes together as a family as often as you can. I also offered the first of three simple guidelines. Here are two more.
Guideline #2: Everyone converses.
If the family mealtime is going to be a time of blessing for everyone, then a family should strive to have everyone included in the conversations. In fact, one of the goals of a mealtime should be to have everyone share in the conversations.
This may mean that dad and mom need to think of some questions or subjects that would stimulate discussion, like… What did you think of Pastor Cory’s sermon this past Sunday? Try avoiding one word answers whenever possible.
This would be a great time for a teachable moment based on the conversations during the mealtime. Let’s say one of the children mentions how he or she hates string beans. This would be a teachable moment to address it without mentioning all the starving children in Africa.
Guideline #3: Everyone remains.
The whole family should stay at the table until all have finished their meal and conversations (unless you have a grazer in your family). Too often, children chow down their food so they can run off and play their video game. If they know from the outset, that everyone stays at the table until everyone is finished, they will be less likely to hurry through their meal.
We tried to have our kids stay at the table a reasonable amount of time. Since they knew that they couldn’t leave early, they took their time eating and participated in the conversation. Of course, they loved doing both so it wasn’t that hard.
The guidelines aren’t meant to make the mealtime an exercise in legalism. They are meant to set some helpful parameters around the dinner table for the benefit of the family.
I hope that the Lord blesses your mealtime together as you commit or continue to commit to a precious time with one another. Remember, family mealtimes will not last forever, but what is accomplished during the mealtime may have a lasting impact.
Something to think about …