Want A More Connected Family? Start Here…
Perhaps the most important thing we can do for our families is to eat dinner together. I’ve heard all the excuses for not eating together, and made them myself, “we’re too busy,” “the kids have so many activities,” “I hate to cook,” “dirty dishes,” you name it, it’s easy to make excuses. However, the most common family issue I hear as a pastor is that our families feel disconnected. We know there’s something wrong and we want to do better. We want our family to feel connected, yet we continue to allow our excuses to keep us from the one place that will make the biggest difference: the dinner table.
With that in mind, we began a new message series at our church for November called “Around the Table.” Now, my family has made a priority of eating together for quite some time, but we haven’t always been the most intentional about our conversation at the table. Since the first message in the series we’ve become more focused and intentional, trying to remember that what happens at the table is more important than what’s on the table. We’ve banished cell phones and electronics from the table. We take turns sharing about our day, what happened, how we felt, where we may have experienced God, etc… Other family members may ask clarifying questions, but no judgement allowed. We want everyone at the table to feel heard, accepted, and loved.
So here’s what we experienced in just five days time:
- The kids are learning to listen to one another, and to us. Yep, it’s possible. They’re even asking each other questions, and a couple of times even expressed encouragement to each other.
- We’re laughing more. We are enjoying each other more. This time we set aside to simply be family is becoming the most important time for us; as we listen to each other we find ourselves laughing, and joking, and just having a good time.
- It gets easier. This may change, I don’t know, but what we’ve experienced is that making the time to have dinner together has gotten easier to do each day. Since we’ve made a priority we’ve found the time. Amazing how that works.
- And, we already feel more connected. And this was the goal, wasn’t it? So many families feel disconnected, yet in just five days our family has deepened our sense of connectedness by simply eating and talking together at the dinner table.
So what do think? Ready to give it a try? Yeah, I know, it can be a challenge. You may have to eat really early or really late in order to make it work, but it’s worth it!
Set a goal to eat dinner together at least three times in the coming week and have intentional conversation with your family. It just might make all the difference…
let me know how it goes!
Grace and Peace, Rich