Are family meals important? My response? A resounding “YES”! When my ex-husband and I were divorcing, nothing became more apparent to me. Our whole meal system we had embraced for years was devastated and it showed.
Now that the divorce is a part of the past, and life has taken on a new shape, with a new normal, the family meals have become part of our family life again. When I read the positive effects of family meals from frequent statistics popping up regularly, combined with my own experience as a parent, nothing is more obvious to me. Family meals build family cohesiveness. Some of the ways in which family mealtime has worked for my family follow.
Without regular family meals, I never get updated on who’s doing what, resulting in lots of bombs going off which I wasn’t prepared for. Suddenly there are events going on with kids which I had no idea about, along with plans to make regarding these events. Family meals provide a venue for me as a mom to get informed, and plan my near future with some degree of organization.
High, low is a game we play around the table, during the dinner meal. It gives everyone some insight into everyone’s day. Sometimes it calls up quick prayer if a family member had a particularly bad experience, or needs help with some situation. You begin by any family member saying “high, low”. This lets everyone know the game is beginning with that person. Next, they share the highest point, and lowest point of their day. Once everyone has had a turn at this, the discussion begins. Wow…does the discussion begin. With 6 girls, I’m sure you can well imagine.
There’s a certain unity which becomes a reality for families that break bread together. Everyone realizes there’s somewhere they go on a daily basis, where they can re-connect with family members after a rough school/work day, knowing that this place is a sort of safe haven where you can vent, let your hair down, and complain a bit if you need to. What better way to build a solid family? structure?
As a large family, my kids have learned to prepare food from scratch, mostly because we rarely eat out anywhere, and my ex-husband is in the restaurant business and has always cooked from scratch with our kids. They’ve learned to cook for groups by baking bread, cakes, and meals in general, all from scratch. Without gathered family mealtimes, they never would’ve gained this knowledge. It seems that kids without the family meal times in their lives, learn to prepare food for 1 on an individual basis, creating a void with regard to cooking for a group, or eating with others.
Source: Personal experience