Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dinner at the table

Henry Nouwen, a catholic priest and professor, says in his book: 'Bread for the journey', that the table you sit down at to eat, is the barometer of your family life.

So he calls on us to make mealtimes a moment to connect with each other. This really touched me, and made me think about the mealtimes I have with my five children.

I have dinner with them every day at five o'clock. My husband doesn't get home until seven o'clock, and we've always found this to be too late for the children, so there's six of us.

At four o'clock I start preparing the food and set the table. I put down six plates, forks and knives and a glass of water for the children to prevent them from whining for one later!

We have a very long table, which comes from the house my father grew up in as a child. He was the seventh of thirteen children, so that explains the long table! On the wall behind the table I've put up a picture of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. I found it at a thrift shop and loved it immediately. It makes me feel part of something bigger when we have our dinner.

At five o'clock the kids flock around the table, because they quite like mealtime! We all sit down, and The Child of The Day* gets to say grace.

As we share the food, we share our thoughts and our selves. Even though mealtimes with five children aren't always very harmonious I still think of it as a time to be cherished.

But at the same time I often find myself so busy, serving the dinner, cleaning it up, admonishing the kids to eat, that I wolf down my own food as if there's no tomorrow. I'm too busy to enjoy and appreciate sitting down and having a meal with my five children! Isn't that sad and kinda stupid?!

So my tip for Tuesday's tip jar is to have dinner at the table and to take a step back from all the fuss and muss of cooking, serving and eating a dinner at the same time, and really 'break bread' with your children.

*From Monday to Friday every child gets to be Child of the Day which means he or she gets to say grace.


He And Me + 3 said...

I hear ya on that one. Great tip!

Rebecca said...

Such a great reminder for everyone. We make it a point to sit at the table for dinner with our kids and talk to them about the day - it is so important!

Happy Tuesday!


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