TIP 21. EATING TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
The simple act of having a meal together can be a strategic opportunity for families to connect at a deeper or more meaningful level. In our busy 21st Century lives it is often difficult for some families to find the time to share a meal together with all the members of the family present. Often the parents are getting home late from work or the children are at football practice or dancing rehearsal etc. many nights of the week.
One of the best parenting tips I can give to 'new dads' or 'dads to be' is to raise your children in a home that has an abundance of love and fun. One of the simplest yet most effective ways to achieve this is around the dinner table.
It is therefore important that you schedule in a time when everybody will be available to eat together as a family. These times can become treasured memories in a child's life, as they are times when we have an opportunity to 'connect' both individually and as a family.
When children feel that they are an important and valued member of a family, they don't need to look outside the family unit so much to 'belong'. This can help to avoid your children forming relationships outside the family that may be unhealthy or detrimental long term. Many young people these days look to their 'peers' or even local street gangs for a sense of 'belonging', often because they are not receiving the love and attention they need at home. This can be a step toward a life of drug abuse and crime if the real problem is not recognised and addressed.
Children like adults, will always have a need and a desire to feel loved and appreciated, this does not diminish as they grow older, but often submerges below the radar as they 'learn' how to put on a 'front' or 'facade'. Open and honest communication is required to offset the chances of these 'facades' or 'walls' going up between individual members or entire family units.
Having a meal together regularly is an opportunity to 'communicate', rather than just a time to feed ourselves. The aim should be 'to enjoy each others company' and 'see how things are going' with each child. As the father you should attempt to ensure that everyone gets a chance to talk or express an opinion on any topics of discussion throughout the meal.
You can also help to 'steer' the conversations into areas that are positive while not 'stifling' the discussion. By getting your children to talk and express their opinions, you can also identify any problem areas that may arise and deal with these privately at a later time.
Dads' Call To Action:
Schedule a regular time for your whole family to come together and share a meal. This should be at least once a week if possible, and make sure that the TV and stereo are off to avoid distractions. Remember the aim is to enjoy each others company, so keep it fun.
(Acts 20 v 7)
Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight