Tuesday, February 16

The Dinner Table

When I decided I wanted to establish dinnertime as a sacred time for my family, I had to be realistic and patience. 'Rome wasn't built in a day'...and neither was my family dinnertime!

The Table was what I focused on first. I wanted to surround my family with beauty and a sense of peace to set the tone for our dinner.

One of the best tricks I learned to encourage me along was to set my table in the morning. Most of the time I never knew what we would be eating, but just seeing the table set gave me HOPE! Dinner would appear and there would be a place to serve it.

I used colorful napkins. That gave me the energy I needed by 4:30-5:00 at night. I would stuff the napkins in the drinking glasses. As I passed the table throughout the day, I would be encouraged to take one step more towards having a family dinnertime.

When my kids were old enough to help, I drew placemats that indicated where the fork, spoon, knife, and glass were to go. All my kids learned to set the table...not just as a chore but because the family would gather around their efforts and be blessed.

Sometimes I hid questions under the plate to stimulate conversation. That carried over to when we had company with kids. It was a good ice breaker and kept the kids attentive as they interacted with the questions and gave their answers.

When I made a new recipe, the kids could only comment on it by filling out a 'report card'. That eliminated alot of complaining and moaning about the food. If they didn't like what was served, they could voice their 'opinion'. They would learn soon enough if others held their same opinion if I never made that meal again!

I have to confess, I never was a big fan of cooking. Mealtimes were a chore for me, but recognizing the value of dinner together helped me find ways to make it fun for me...and that carried over to the family.

Lighten up when you think of dinner tonight. Do something colorful and perhaps abit crazy to get your family's attention. Take baby steps to make your dinnertime unique and fun. It might take abit more time up front, but the benefits will soon pay off as your kids get older.

Did stuffing napkins into drinking glasses really convince my kids not to take up the habit of smoking? I like to think it did set the atmosphere for some lively discussions around The Table.

As the Homemaker of your home, accept this responsibility as an honor. Your job as chief cook and bottle washer will end, but your family will reap great blessings that will continue on long after they leave The Table.

1 comment:

Katy said...

Barb, I vividly remember almost 13 years ago when Ryan was a newborn...I could not imagine how I was going to manage to prepare a decent family meal every night! Soon after he was born, a neighbor (and mom of 4) brought me over a delicious meal on a tray with all of the food groups represented--even dessert!--when my hubby went out of town for work. I knew at that moment I had a LONG way to go in this area!
I love your idea of setting the table early in the day--brilliant! Also the 'written review' is sheer genius. I agree that a nicely set table gets our children's attention and brings out their best!