Total Life Blog   |  Elbows off the Table!

Elbows off the Table!

That’s the phrase many of us remember from our childhood days around the dinner table. That, and “don’t talk with your mouth full.” Regardless of what etiquette rules may have been in place at your house, many of us have fond memories of the nightly ritual that is known as dinner.  Dinner was the glue that held together our evenings. It book-ended our days, and was a last chance effort in reconnecting before the sun went down.

Then came sports, and homework, and college, and careers; and before you know it, you’re that person who uses dinner only as a bridge between lunch and late night coffee.  We all do it: young, old, students, professionals, singles, and married. None of us are exempt from the occasional eating of dinner in front of the television, or even (gasp!) skipping it all together.  Some of us have even been married for more than our fair share and still avoid the dinner table at all costs.

But having children is a new ball game, and something clicks inside of us when they enter the picture. Must. Have. Dinner. At the table. Peter Parker was right: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” As parents, there is now more to life than just eating- there is family. (And now there should be vegetables too!)

These days most parents consider it a miracle if they can usher the family in its entirety to the general vicinity of the kitchen. Let’s be honest, it’s not much different than herding cats.  Between finding the time for working parents to cook and schedule around busy children, there is still the most difficult piece of all- conversation. If you are like some families, you grew up with the vintage “bread of life” set, complete with Bible-verse flocked cardstock to guide your conversation:

Or maybe you had awkward moments of silence.  Or maybe you realized you needed help with keeping the conversation alive:

It’s not easy, especially these days. In the pre-2000 years, we had less to contend with during meal times. No cell phones, no texting, no video games, no internet (I won’t even get in to all the  iProducts). Pretty much all it took to sit down to dinner was just that- sitting down. Well, that and a commitment to not answer the kitchen phone if it rang.  Now, it’s almost considered a miracle just to pry electronics out of your loved ones hands long enough to pick up a fork.

But like mom always said, practice makes perfect. And while we probably all agree that our families will never be perfect, practice is always worth it.  Years from now we may not be able to remember the exact conversations that took place around the dinner table, but we will remember who we shared them with. And isn’t that what dinner’s all about?

You’ve been given the amazing gift of family. Now go and enjoy them.

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Author: Karly Wood

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