When I was a child, my family didn’t eat dinner together very often. I grew up with a single mom who was busy working, going to school, or taking care of household chores and errands. Consequently, my sister and I parked ourselves in front of the TV and ate whenever our favorite shows were on.
Despite our hectic lives, my mom did make a point to have Sunday dinner as a family. She cooked a delicious meal, turned off the TVs, and gathered the family around the table. Those Sunday dinners were special times. We were able to talk, laugh, and share our lives with each other. In fact, we still have periodic Sunday dinners at my mom’s house. It’s great to watch three generations interact with each other.
When my wife and I were married, we made a pledge to always have family dinners and we’ve kept that pledge to this day. Dinner time is our family’s bonding time. All forms of electronic communication are banned during meal times – no phones, no computers, no TV. Over the course of an hour, we talk about our day, discuss current events, play games, or spend some time with a devotional message.
My kids feel comfortable sharing details about their lives and my wife and I do our best to nurture an open environment for communication. I’ve learned many things about my kids that I may not have known if not for our regular family dinner time.
Even when I’m out of town for work, my son always asks me what I had for dinner. It’s his way of maintaining a dinner time connection with Daddy.
Because I believe so strongly in families’ spending time together, I’m partnering with Together Counts, a nonprofit organization designed to get families eating more family meals and getting active together. Together Counts believes healthy change doesn’t have to be just a personal goal; rather it should be a united goal for the entire family. The program’s focus is on moderation and energy balance, which means paying attention to “calories in versus calories out,” and helping families make balanced lifestyle choices.
Over the next few months, I will share some ideas on the Together Counts Blog on how families can bond through eating meals together and being active.
Join the conversation: How often does your family share meals together? Did your family share meals together when you were a child?
Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Together Counts. All opinions are my own.