Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The humble, powerful table

For the longest time, its grieved me that so many families eat dinner on the run. It seems that most people I know do not sit down at the table for dinner as a family, much less for breakfast or lunch. In fact, according to research, only 40% of American families eat together even 2 or 3 times per week! Dinner is something to eat as you drive through somewhere on the way to somewhere else, or else is some convenience food that you warm up at home and then eat in front of the computer or TV or scattered in various rooms. Even before I decided to really simplify my life, this is one thing that was so important to me. Dinner is the time for the family to get together, enjoy good food and good conversation, and just be together.

So imagine how delighted I was to read about just this thing in a book called Morning Sun on a White Piano by Dr. Robin R. Meyers. Here is an excerpt:

For most of human history, people have scattered to make a living, and then huddled around a table to have a life. Through joy and sorrow they sat together--sometimes silently, sometimes with animated voices and boisterous laughter. But the making of a meal and the ritual of the table was the glue that stuck them together. Anyone who wishes to simplify her life, and to make sacramental moments out of ordinary time, cannot possibly ignore the finction of the table as both an anchor and a conduit.

October 24th is Take Back Your Time Day. The theme this year is Let's Get Back to the Table.
Take Back Your Time is an initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families relationships, our communities and our environment.

Some books about taking back your time and the importance of putting family and friends first.
If you need some recipes ideas or other suggestions on how to reincorporate this ancient ritual in your home, the site Together for Dinner provides lots of ideas.

I hope you have a lovely dinner!


Sara said...

Wonderful post! I agree that the family dinner is sadly neglected these days. There are so many statistics related to this...they show that families that eat together eat more nutritiously, are more bonded as a family, and that it helps children and teens develop positive emotional and physical health. It's definitely a lost art. I think it's great to make a big deal about meals...making them very ritualistic. It gives the family members something to look foward to everyday.

Gavrielah said...

I agree, sara. The girls love setting the table, making it all look all pretty. We used to be much more casual about dinner, but when we began keeping Shabbat (Friday night dinner for the Sabbath), we would put out the best we had and it would transform the whole mood in the house. So, while we still like to keep Friday nights a little more special, its fun to "dress up" the table for everyday as well. That ritual aspect you mentioned is really important.

Jenny said...

Wow, those stats are astounding! We really put forth the effort to eat with one another and the only meal that isn't eaten together is usually breakfast--though we eat that together on the weekends. You ladies are right though, too many of our family rituals and traditions are missing; I'm thankful that there's a movement to reclaim them.

Travis Jay Morgan said...

Great points Gavrielah. If I may add, one should never leave another at the table alone.

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