When I was growing up and again as I was raising my children, some of our best family times together were around the supper table. I understand that is no longer the norm these days, and that concerns me.
I jokingly complain sometimes that while I was the one who home schooled our children and worked with them day in and day out on math, grammar, and such, like their dad they are all now more interested in politics and world events. How did that happen?
Tim planned to teach the kids history and political science courses, but formal instruction by him just never happened. However, we did talk about those things around the dinner table, and they stuck.
In the book Cheaper by the Dozen, the father, Frank Gilbreth took family dinner discussions a step farther than we did. He required that topics of discussion be of general interest, and he would determine what topics met that requirement. Of course, he most often chose the topic of discussion.
If you’ve not read this book, I highly recommend it. Mr. Gilbreth was as close to a home school teacher while his children attended public school as one could be, I think. He was quite creative in the way he taught his children many things; of course, that included mealtime conversations. On top of all that, it’s a fun book to read with your children!
I know that many people say they are too busy to all sit down together for a meal. If that is the case in your family, I would encourage you that perhaps you need to reevaluate your priorities.
Think about it: Dinnertime is one of the few times when a family is all together, and you have a captive audience. It’s a great training time. Also it’s a great time to find out what’s going on in each one’s life.
For us, that time together as a family was very important. We still enjoy getting together around the dinner table and having discussions—sometimes rather raucous, sometimes deep—but always served up with love!