We always have dinner at the table.
We wait till everyone is there and seated before we start.
We hold hands and have family prayer. Dad starts, then each of us gives thanks or praise for something that happened during our day.
Then we can eat.
We talk or play a game, usually charades or the ungame. Some days we continue the game after dinner.
Then you ask to be excused.
You push your chair in and take your plate to the sink.
Dinner is over.
At our house, I like to think of dinner as a time for getting to really just relax and communicate. Not “how was your day son?” and the typical teen response “fine.” Wow. Learned a ton about him there. No, I mean more like “Hey, that new game you got, how are you doing at it? I saw you really ringing up the points! Looked hard really hard to me!!” Then let him try to answer “fine” because I will just keep pulling more out till you are having a conversation with me! I can really listen to my kids and find out what they are really interested in, a new video game, a new song, a craft they found they would like to try, or cookies they might want to create this weekend. My husband and I sit across from each other. This gives 2 kiddos his ear and 2 kiddos mine. They feel heard on many levels. Some days we just have fun and bond together. We play silly games that do not require pieces just maybe a card to read. Questions like: What color reminds you of the person on your left and why?
Here is one of the silly games we play at our table. We have a little pail of questions that we pull out randomly then we all have to answer.
Here are some of the questions in our pail:
Why do you think God loves us so much?
What is your favorite joke?
Can you describe the most beautiful place you have ever visited?
When you think of God, how do you picture Him?
Is there anything you are afraid to try or do, and if so, what are your fears?
What have we done in the past that you would like to do again?
If you were given one chance to travel back in time, what event would you like to see?
What is one thing you prayed about today?
If you had a robot, what would you have him do and why?
If you could change 3 things about yourself, what would they be?
Is there anybody in history that you have read about that you would like to meet?
Where should mom and dad go for their next “date”?
I never really thought about how different everyone’s dinner routines are. I was learning that some of my friends thought it was odd that I insist when guests come for dinner I have them included in the prayers. I make sure kiddos set the table. Everyone participates from conception till completion at our dinner table. I just figured that was the norm.
My friends homes had rules not at all like mine. Some , the rule at their home is to have the kids be silent and only mom and dad can talk. Some didn’t think that manners were important at all (oh in my house they are!!). Some of them only have family dinner for Christmas and Easter. So many different families with so many different styles for dinner.
Who knew something as simple as a dinner table had so many various norms?
It struck me that it is kind of like being a Christian isn’t it? We all practice and have the same basic “table” or bible but we all treat ours differently. Some just “eat” there on Sunday, holidays, or with appropriate company. Others sit there at the table but use it only for themselves, they never invite others over to “dine” with them. I have seen the homes where the table is just there to look pretty. We need our homes to have tables that are openly used and have plentiful “food”. God’s Word is manna, or food, for the soul. It is through daily feeding on the Bread of Life that we obtain the strength that we need for the trials ahead. It is by having God’s Word in our hearts that we keep from sinning against Him. Jeremiah said “Thy words were found and I did eat them: and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16) The bible also says in Deuteronomy 8:3 ” Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” It is also written in Romans 10:17 that
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.“ Putting that all together to me means that we should not only consume the Word of God, but we need to share it with each other, have a welcoming and well used “table” in our homes.
There is no better place to start, than at our own family table.
Have a blessed day friend!! Hope you have a wonderful day at your family table!