The picture you see is my family on vacation eating out. The family dinner table was one of the most sacred places in our home. Family style dining was crucial to my soul when our children were young. I used to work in early childhood development before my husband Gary and I had children. While working I learned the principles of family style dining and it was at that time that I knew I had to create that space in my home - and I did. At first it was just Gary and I. We ate at the table, I put everything in serving bowls with serving spoons, folded napkins, utensils and a glass full of kool-aide. LOL! Yep, that was way back in the day when I was not health conscious.
Once Gary and I had children we ate at the table while the baby was in the highchair. As the years went by our children filled up the chairs at our dining table. Our first dining table was round with four chairs and then we graduated to a dining room table with eight chairs and a beautiful hutch. I went shopping in Prague for what I thought was the perfect china for my family because that is where women shopped while living in Germany. I wanted the dishes to be a focal point. I wanted to create a space of love around the dinner table. A place to talk. A place to correct behaviors. I place to share what we did that day.
At our table I allowed the children to scoop their own potatoes, green beans, pasta, salad or whatever we were having. The rule was that if you scoop it yourself you have to eat it yourself. Once our children got older and got engaged with extra curricular activities our routine of family style dining changed. When Gary was deployed or TDY we would sometimes eat around the coffee table while watching something on TV. We didn't do that often but when we did it was because I needed to relax and not be "on" during dinner. I needed the television to do the work because sometimes I was just plain exhausted and needed to turn "off".
Now that they are older, family style dining is scarce. There was dance practice, play rehearsal, soccer, football, then later they left and went to college. And for the past couple of years our son is driven to Raleigh four days a week for a two hour karate practice during dinner time. We don't sit down together as often and when we do all sit down it is different. Much different. Gary and I are older and the table is filled with young adults.
Dear Mom, create a space to dine together at the table. Family style dining is crucial for...well go and search it out for yourself. I don't want this blog to be any longer with all the reasons why family style dining is crucial. Acts 2:42 says, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." Create that space in your home! Connect with your family and if you are single create that place of rest and reflection for yourself.