Sunday, July 18, 2010

Regular Family Meals

Early morning breakfasts and afternoon dinners are more important to the family than I knew. If the family gets together once or twice a day it will have a long lasting effect on each family member.

When Lillian and I heard the statistics and long list of positive effects resulting from regular family meals we decided to stay focused on following through with it.

We thought we did pretty good prior to this focus. One of the first discoveries we made was that quite frequently one or more family members was indeed missing, due to some prior arrangement or commitment we had made. It took some effort to change the habit and get into the routine of saying "no" to protect those family appointments.

The second discovery we made was that meals have become a highlight of the day. There is such a big difference between a meal where everyone is present and a meal where someone is missing. Family conversations have gradually turned from quarreling to communication and sharing. It's never simple and straightforward, but we can sense a "faster rate of improvement" when we're all there. It's easier to influence the family for good.

The third discovery was a seemingly simple but important principle. When the family gets together on a regular basis (i.e. daily), it becomes the outward expression of healthy routines and living. As with most statistics, it usually is not the empirical behavior itself, but the underlying lifestyle or pattern that really is the root cause of any future outcome, be it positive or negative. (For instance, making sure everybody gets their vitamins or listening to individual concerns making sure everybody is doing good.)

Today I would enthusiastically encourage any parent to make an extra effort to have regular family meals.

No comments:

Post a Comment