Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family Dinner and what I learned today

And no, our family did not look anything like this. There were 10 of us!
No table cloth, no salad plates,. My Dad did however often have a tie on.

 When I was a teenager, back in 1972-73, I use to work at JCPenneys. 
I especially loved the evening shift, which I got about once a week. 
Like clockwork we could count on the store being nearly empty between about 5:30- 7pm. 
Families were all home having dinner together, or most of them were. 
So we would use this time to clean our counters and straighten shelves.
Then we would have time to talk and laugh and enjoy the break. 
There might be one or two customers wandering around in our department, 
but really hardly anyone but us clerks. 
Then about 6:45 the shoppers would start trickling back in, and by 7pm we were quite busy again.

Now you can go to any store or mall 
and I don't think there is any difference in the amount of customers during "the dinner hour." 
We have changed as a society. 
I realize times are different, people are busier, and more are working just to keep food on the table. 
Everything has become so expensive!

But what has happened to the family dinner? Do we even need it anymore?

Today reading our *Visiting Teaching message was quite insightful to me.
Take a look at this one part of it:

They have now included Family mealtimes 
along with the Primary answers 
of reading scriptures and prayer and Family Home Evening!

After I read this I thought to myself, 'Then why haven't we always been counseled about family meals?'
I immediately thought back to my childhood and how all my friends that I can think of had a dinner hour.
And I also thought back to my days working retail and how society at large had a dinner hour.
We didn't need the counsel and encouraging to eat with our families back then

I know this may be a controversial subject.
But everyone needs to eat, right?
And we are with our family at least once a day, aren't we?
So can't we have at least one mealtime together?

*In our church we have a program called Visiting Teaching. Each month, along with our assigned partner, we visit 2-4 other women from our congregation. We make sure they are doing okay both physically and spiritually, and we also bring them a short message.

You can read the entire Visiting Teaching message for this month right here.


Connie said...

I don't think we realized the great benefits that came from having family dinner together back in the 60s, 70s, etc. It was the time to eat. Period. I remember spending an hour or so helping my mother prepare the dinner and making sure it was ready when Dad came home from work. We had some great conversations and some not so great but it was a time to be together.
Things have definitely changed.

Susan Rozier said...

Amen! I've watched my daughter struggle with getting everyone to sit down together. After school water polo team practice, piano lessons, etc. By time dad gets home at 6:00 p.m., other activities have started. I'm not saying it's impossible, but everyone needs to be committed to the importance of it. Your sister Robin seems to have this mastered. Times have changed, but I have still noticed somewhat of a lull and will chose to go shopping between 5:00 and 6:00 since we eat at 4:00!!! It IS important. Love, Susan

the Rich girl said...

Make dinner, not war. :) (Or however your bumper sticker says it.)

Darlene said...

I do so agree with you Jill. We used to love our family meals. We all sat around the table even if the dad came home late from work (he usually did) but we did make that a family practice, even if it was mostly the kids and me. Our kids were usually involved with helping get dinner ready. Some of our very best conversations were around the table and often we would linger there afer we had all had our fill, just to yak yak yak.

You are right too about not many families do it anymore. This is a tragedy. Kids are so darned busy these days with all their extra curicular activities. Families these days don't realize what they are missing.

Of course not many mothers had outside jobs. We were all stay at home moms, so we did have more time. Still, if they try, they can make it happen.

Rebecca said...

I am a huge fan of families eating dinner together. We try to do this most nights. When I was growing up, everyone had "dinner hour". You would not dare to knock on your neighbors door during this time. I think it is an important time for families.

Karen Mortensen said...

I love this post. We so need to get back to those simpler times. As a kid growing up we always ate dinner together. It was great.

Eileen said...

I agree that "There has never been a greater need for strong families and homes."
And I agree that dinner hour should be primary. I've been trying to do just that lately. I don't know how we got away from it. When the kids were all home we always had a dinner hour, but then as they grew up and got on with their own lives, Ray and I went out to dinner a lot, or we got take-out food. Even when the older ones were around, everyone had their own schedule so we ate in dribs and drabs, never altogether. A few years ago some of kids moved back in, and our grandson came along, but we never really got back to the 'every evening dinner hour'. We always had a family meal on the weekends when all the kids and grandkids were here, but not a daily dinner hour. Recently I've been insisting that we all sit at the dining table for dinner AWAY from the TV and eat together. And I know my grandson LOVES it!
Great post, Jill!
Love and Prayers,