Oh good, you’re done barn chores. Perfect timing; dinner is almost ready.
Two more minutes, everybody!
Daniel I’ll help with that after we eat, okay?
Mary, please run up and open Claire’s door and shut off the music.
Dinner is ready!!
Lucy, I know you love that book sweetheart but, remember, no reading at the dinner table.
Honey would you lift up David into the high chair?
Are we all here?..Anyone missing?
Ahh…. dinner time in a large family.
Dinner was the highlight of the day with everyone clammering to share their news or simply squeeze in comments or opinions into the caphony of voices. it was a humourous symphany that sounded perfectly in tune and in harmony to my ears with high pitched baby voices, loud, boistrous little boys, quavering of a male voice changing, deep calming rumbles of Dad’s reactions and my own voice asking everyone to be quiet for a moment so we can all hear the toddler’s newest word. The best part of the symphany is the joyful laughter and clapping for each other’s triumphs and acheivements be it a knew word learned or a scholarship award.
Life around the dinner table was relaxed and happy because we allowed our children to behave in age appropriate ways. We did not demand adult perfection.The consequences of this decision were messy but well worth the time it took to mop up after meal time. It meant and not shoveling in neat, tidy mouthfuls of food into a toddler because we let little people feed themselves as soon as they reached for the spoon. For more info in regards to Wiktionary look at the web site. It meant including three-year olds in meal prep, sending five and six-year olds running out to the garden for vegetables and letting go of pride by letting a ten-year old make the dessert. In other words we valued participation over a neat and tidy kitchen and orderly meal time.
We are reaping the rewards of decisions that sent many visitors into a sputtering, spiral of incredulity as they eyed my kitchen and the faces of my little people. Yet they look now at my grown-up kids with admiration because they all love to cook and entertain, especially for each other. Just drop by for a quick hello and inevitably they will cajole you to stay for a meal.It is a simple fact that there is no better way to form deep relationships than over a home-cooked meal. . In fact there is no better way to encourage the development of a warm supportive family than with delicious food and relaxed conversation around the dinner table.
Jesus definitely understood how people relate. It was around an intimate Passover meal that He demonstrated the depth of His love by revealing the suffering they would all endure during His Passion, death on the cross and the agony of waiting for the Holy Spirit as their new Companion and Comforter. The Last Supper is an example of the power of a shared meal among family and friends.
This article is my first in the magazine for Catholic Attachment Parenting Corner called TENDER TIDINGS Fall 2013. Take a look at this magazine; it is warm, humourous and filled with love and hope for the nuclear family.