We all live busy lives. Most American families are on the go so much that it’s difficult to get everyone around the dinner table once a day to share a family meal. But family meals are important. Family meals are a powerful tradition that influences the whole family. Family meals give us an opportunity to connect, communicate, and come before God.
Think about all the memories you have built around meals. Most of us can recall the relationship building that has gone on over meals at Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays. When I look back at my childhood, I have a vivid image of the big round table in my parent’s kitchen and the bright orange swivel chairs where we sat. The valuable relationship building that went on there is forever burned into my mind. Sharing a family meal touches our sense of sight, touch, taste, smell and provides us with opportunities for laughter and conversation.
Family meals provide us with an opportunity to create a shared experience with our children, which provides them with a sense of belonging. It brings us together and unites us. Sharing a regular family meal give us an opportunity to pass on our values, offers us an opportunity for conversation, and an opportunity to slow down and spend quality time together.
Family meals allow parents an opportunity to learn about their child. Parents can monitor children’s moods, behavior and learn about their friends. Taking that time to share a meal also gives structure to a child’s day. Structure provides a sense of security and well-being. Not surprising, sharing a family meal can also make a positive impact on your child’s communication skills.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the family meal, which is at the heart of all the other benefits, is that it gives us an opportunity to talk with our children about the Lord. As we sit down and ask the Lord’s blessing on our meal, we are welcoming Him to be a part of our table conversation. In Deuteronomy 11:18-19, God commands us to pass His Word on to our children. “You shall therefore lay up these words of Mine into your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Family mealtime provides us with a perfect setting to teach our children about Jesus. Either before or after the meal, while you are still gathered together, is an awesome opportunity to pull out your Bible and share a family devotion.
As busy as we can be, it is important that we not let that time of sharing a family meal slip from our schedule.