What do you think of when you picture family dinner? A Rockwell-esque scene with father, mother, and a checkered table cloth? Hamburgers grilling on the back patio? A special gathering with extended family and a buffet spread with traditional family recipes? Getting together at a favorite eatery?
The truth is, family dinner is a universal experience – no matter where in the world you come from, you’ve likely shared a meal at a table with family.
Something almost magical happens when we can wind down from the chaos of the day and connect with each other around a dinner table. Feelings of safety, belonging, love, camaraderie, are all experienced around the table. Stories are shared and bonds are forged as dishes are passed and bellies are filled.
Of course, there are the studies that tell us kids who eat a family dinner on a regular basis are less likely to use drugs and view pornography; or can generally avoid a laundry list of problems. But what the scientific and social analyses don’t tell you about are the things that can’t be measured. The magical things.
Like learning your 11-year-old son has a major crush on a girl at school. Or that your teen-age daughter is fan girl-ing over Alexander Hamilton. Or that their dad wrestled a guy on the front lawn of a girl they both liked in high school.
And the best part of the whole deal? It doesn’t take much to facilitate that magic. A crockpot meal, a casserole, a quick stir-fry, or even a bucket of chicken will do. Gather everyone together, and voila… magic.
As it turns out, family dinner is one of those small things that is actually a big thing. So make a little magic this week and enjoy a dinner with your family.