Okay before I get any kind of depth with the post, the picture. I had a lovely aerial family meal and then I had this one. Maybe because I would personally love it that my family meals were like this, because I like weird (because I am weird), because it’s unique, may be why I chose this picture. I have a confession of something I’ve only just begun to realize about myself. Again I can’t tell you how much reading Brene Brown (shame and vulnerability researcher), has allowed me to DIG deep. Growing up with a family who specializes in weight loss, I have always been going on programs. I admit at times to me (I am responsible for my own thoughts) it felt like living with the food police. Like my plate was persistently being integrated on portion and content. I felt an overwhelming need to be physically perfect or thought people were expecting me to eat and be a certain way. Shame then led me to hide whenever I ate. I grew to hate eating in front of others. As I’ve mentioned before, I struggled with binging. Although the binging has dissipated, the urge to eat by myself often remains. But reading Brown, I realize that hiding keeps you from connecting. I have great relationships, but I can connect better. How valuable is the time we have when we can spend it with others? And I don’t want to just be surrounded by people. I want to engage. I want to laugh. I want to ask questions. I want to listen. I want to tell stories. I want to have a meal with my family. I grew up having sit down family meals. Fast food was a rarity in our household. My father is a bomb cook so dinner was a home cooked meal together. Holidays were spent at both grandparents, seated with a meal prepared by either of my grandmothers who are both wonderful cooks (soul food I guess it could be considered). Sundays the Drehers would all gather after church to eat. But as all things in life we grow up and grow out of things. We succumb to the modern world and convenience. A lot of kids don’t know the magic of a home cooked meal. Grocery stores are filled with processed foods. We only know how to make things pre-assembled meals or ones coming out of a box. The art of cooking is fading. Family dinner is fading. Quickly being replaced by meals in the car between busy schedules, meals eaten in front of the TV or while playing games. I think of groups like the French or Italians where eating is an experience. Gathering for hours, enjoying time together.
While I was with my father we practiced eating together, and he teaches the experience of mindful eating. But when I returned home it again faded. Lately after reading about connection, I realized it was important for us to practice eating together again. Rather than tucking into our own designated spaces to eat and distract ourselves. To create an interacting household, rather than a group of people living in the same place. Returning to our roots.
Here are some reasons why you may want to consider family dinning:
- more parent/child time
- children showing better thinking/linguistic skills (meaning better communication skills- hello they’re actually sitting and talking together rather than texting, messaging, tweeting, facebooking, or emailing someone else)
- teens who eat with their families are less likely to have depression and are more motivated to work
- Kids are also more likely to eat more vegetables and drink less soda
So initiate. I prepared dinner, set the table and we sat together to enjoy it. Trenton said a prayer. We lit candles. When we were done, Trenton and grandma told stories before we blew out the candles. These little moments are so joyous. And I am so thankful for them. I am thankful not to be hiding. To be connecting. Just a family sitting down to a healthy nutritious meal. Again like humor, not all families will celebrate the same. Create your own family ritual and meal setting. But find time to enjoy food together! What is life if you are not happy and connected?