Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Couldn't Agree More...

"This sounds a bit romantic, but if once, twice, or even three times a week people cooked, and sat around the table with their family, that would have a dramatic impact on the whole country. I think kids would be happier, marriages would fail less. I suppose my belief is that by just creating an element of care in the mainstream you have a much nicer environment all 'round."

**I could not agree more.**

I stumbled upon this quote by Jamie Oliver a few weeks ago. He summed up one of my "soap box issues" perfectly.

While growing up, my family always ate together. We would sit around the table, share the day's events...discuss, debate, plan. It grounded the family. It was something constant.

Even through my activity-filled, boy crazy, rebellious teen years we would make time to meet up at the dinner table. My parents were smart: This was an easy way to keep tabs. I'm sure I would have gotten into even more mischief without their sustained presence in my daily happenings.

Today, the tradition continues. My family eats together every night. Granted, The Offspring are young and it's easier to align schedules. But it's a habit that has been in place from the beginning; A daily ritual that is held in high regard.

This gives me confidence that it won't fall by the wayside as the kids get older, busier, and too cool to eat with Mom and Dad. I hope that it transcends their time spent in our home into their own homes.

It isn't always easy. There are nights I don't want to come home after working all day only to stand in the kitchen and cook a meal. But I do. Because it's important. I value the end result.

My children probably eat later than they should. We wait for The Mr. to get home so that we can sit down as a family. Their bedtime gets bumped a bit later than I'd like, but I feel the pros outweigh the cons on this one.

Dinnertime isn't solely about eating a healthy meal, but also a time to sit and focus on each other at the end of a busy day. Sometimes it's full of laughs, sometimes we share things deemed important, sometimes it's when we learn something new.

Of course there are those nights that make me question the whole family dinnertime thing: belching, smacking, whining, complaining, spills, bickering, messes, fussing. But even sub-par dining experiences can bring us closer.

I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir. Many of you already cook meals and have a shared dinnertime. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm also not trying to guilt trip anyone. I'm very aware that there are situations where eating together every night isn't possible due to work obligations, school commitments, and sports activities.

But I do think we should be mindful of priorities and set aside some time to have a meal together. Because what greater priority is there than one's family?

If you know someone who doesn't share mealtime, pass on the advantages that can come of it. Some folks just don't know. Like Jamie said, it could impact the whole country and create a nicer place to live.

And all it takes is sitting down and eating with those you love most. Imagine that?

OK. I am now climbing off of my soap box.

I have dinner to cook.