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10 Big Blessings that Come from Daily Family Dinners

  • Meg Bucher
10 Big Blessings that Come from Daily Family Dinners

Regular dinners together are a great way to foster family relationships. A common misconception of this picture includes the entire family gathering around a home cooked meal each night of the week. But to get everything out onto the table, family dinners don’t have to look or feel any more perfect than the rest of our lives. Any time our families have together is purposed time, it’s enough time, and it’s blessed time.

Here are 10 blessings to be grateful for as God allows and provides for a shared family meal.

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1. We Learn to Appreciate the Time We Have.

1. We Learn to Appreciate the Time We Have.

We have a hand in deciding the type of environment surrounding our families. Are we choosing to set a bitter tone because we can’t all be together to gather around the table each night; or an atmosphere overflowing with gratitude for a full table, regardless of an empty seat or two.

As our children get older, their activities speed up and walk all over our daily schedules. In my own home, sometimes it’s just two out of the four of us sitting together. Or it’s the three of us in the car with one eating on the way. Whatever time we have with our kids is crucial time. Embrace the family at the table or in the car on any given night. On the occasion that the four of us get to sit together, it’s a huge blessing!

When we let go of our daily agenda in exchange for God’s, He’s able to blow us away with His out-of-the-box omnipotence. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Tanaphong Toochinda

2. We Get to Talk to Our Kids.

2. We Get to Talk to Our Kids.

When my family sits around the same table, it usually goes one of two ways after we pray: fart jokes and hysterical laughter, or discipline that ends in tears. It’s a tough family dynamic to pull off in perfect harmony, because the four of us are not all within arm’s reach of each other more than a few times a week. But, my kids are quick to remind us in conversations, of the hardships they witness their friends going through, and we often find ourselves thankful for the blessings in our lives.

Our days are numbered. Tragedy can befall any family at any time. None of us are immune to sickness, divorce, death, addiction, or natural disaster. The time to talk is precious time. Whether it be laughing about fart jokes or crucial lessons in character, we play an important role in each other lives. What we have to say to each other and share with each other is important. And family dinners, no matter how frequent or rare, are precious opportunities to talk it all out.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jaco Pretorius

3. The Opportunity to Thank God for Our Blessings.

3. The Opportunity to Thank God for Our Blessings.

“Thank You, God, for this nice day. Bless our food, our work, our play.” 

It’s a simple prayer that my daughters learned in pre-school. Before them, my husband and I had fallen out of the daily habit of pausing to pray before meals. I still forget to pause and pray when I meet a friend for coffee or lunch. It’s an area of my heart that God has convicted me to grow in. But that simple prayer that we say at dinnertime has become a routine for all of us, and a good spring board to grow on.

We don’t have to pray poetically to the Lord in order to express our gratitude. A bowed head and a thankful heart is good enough. Now, that my daughters are a little older, I am obeying God’s conviction to dive deeper into what we are thankful for and need prayer for. We call them “the extra prayers.” I’m consistently blown away by what my daughters are thankful for, and who their hearts break for. Family dinners are a wonderful opportunity to let them develop an easy and free conversation with God, allowing Him to meet them where they are at daily, and speak life into their concerns.

Photo Credit: Pexels

4. Teaching our Children Good Manners.

4. Teaching our Children Good Manners.

The fear of what my children might behave like as a guest in another home motivates me to mind how they act on my watch. Teaching our kids how to cut their food with the right leverage instead of clutching a fork and knife with their fists saves them from eventually embarrassing themselves!

For my picky eaters, the biggest challenge has been to convince them to try foods they don’t like without make throw-up faces and pretend gags. Showing kids how to be open to new foods travels far beyond the table. To every kid’s eye-roll, it’s a parental duty to tell them that people starve, in our community and around the world. Dinnertime gives parents and guardians a chance to foster grateful hearts for food and clean water. It’s a reality that not everyone gets to live out each day. As children walk out into the world, they need open eyes to see.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Dan Gold

5. Time Management and Teamwork.

5. Time Management and Teamwork.

Family dinners model good time management. There’s an element of preparation that goes into carving that time out of the busy day and putting a meal together. Meal planning is a feat in and of itself, especially for households with single or dual working parents and guardians.

On a recent stay with my parents, my daughters were thrilled to help their Grandma in the kitchen. She made a big deal about how thankful she was, but also made it known they were expected to chip in. They embraced it, and it carried over into our own home. Sometimes, time flies by so fast that we forget what our children are capable of. Shedding some of the responsibility to spouses and children creates a teamwork atmosphere. Never underestimate the wisdom we can glean from those who have gone before us. Grandparents (and other family members/friends) can be great sources of wisdom! Extend the invite to welcome others over for dinner. It can teach children to embrace hospitality at a young age.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Nadya Spetnitskaya

 

6. The Ability to Work through Hard Discussions.

6. The Ability to Work through Hard Discussions.

“How was your day?” I habitually ask as my daughters land in my car at the end of the school day. “Fine,” is typically all I get, unless the day was catastrophic. Family dinners allow all of us to elaborate as the dust settles on our day a little. Hard discussions can be safely embraced at the family table. There are many days I have to poke and prod to release what’s bothering my daughters. Sometimes, they don’t even realize they need to talk something out.

Family dinners allow us to walk through hard conversations with each other. It’s one of the best ways to help our children embrace who they are, despite difficult situations they walk through and mistakes they make. My oldest daughter has endured a long season of bullying, and many of our dinnertime conversations bled into bedtime conversations that forced us as a family to seek God’s Truth and His will in her life and her situation. The time we invest listening and leading them to God’s feet through hard life lessons is a priceless honor.

Photo Credit: Pexels
 

7. The Ability to Speak Life to Each Other.

7. The Ability to Speak Life to Each Other.

Triumphs can be celebrated full-out at the family table! Even small victories can launch our littles into learning who they are in Christ. It’s easy to reward grand accomplishments, but when we laud them for the less obvious, their faces light up.

The world is going to push them around as much as it pushes us around. By setting the tone of grace, kindness, and forgiveness in our reactions and our achievements, we are speaking life into their veins. Not all of us are great at memorizing Scripture, or even having it on hand. It’s something I, myself, strive to be better at. But in the meantime, we can all share what we know about who God is, and who He says they are. They are no less in need of daily encouragement than we are. Nor are our spouses. It’s important to honor them as well, even in their absence.

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8. It’s a Safe Harbor.

8. It’s a Safe Harbor.

Meals can be a way to reach out into the community in hospitality. There was a season when my daughters and I would share dinner with a single mom and her daughter when my husband worked late. Instead of focusing on the fact that he couldn’t be there, we chose to reach out a welcome hand. If we’ll allow Him room, God will bring joy into our lives regardless of circumstance.

When we pray for the opportunity to give a little of what we have to another soul, I believe He rings the doorbell with opportunity. Not everyone gets a chance to experience any type of normalcy in family life. Some are going through seasons of difficulty and need an empathic ear and a warm meal. Children innately love to be a part of blessing people. Dinnertime can be a safe harbor, not only for our families, but for those within our reach that need an embrace of hope, and a few shared laughs over the universally kid-approved fart jokes.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Annie Spratt

9. Dinnertime Can Set the Tone for the House.

9. Dinnertime Can Set the Tone for the House.

The most effective house rules reflect God’s rules. Pulling basic principles from the Ten Commandments is a great place to start, and dinnertime is a great opportunity to review, revise, and reiterate those rules and why they exist.

“No running or yelling in the house,” is a big rule in my house. It may not be very Biblical in and of itself, but when they ask why, we have an opportunity enlighten them.

They follow our rules because we’re their parents, and God’s Word says to “honor your father and your mother.” It’s not a very popular rebuttal, but it’s rock solid. Our Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us, and when we disobey Him we pay for it in painful consequences. Rather than run down the laundry list of reasons they could slip and crack their heads open, break things, wake someone up from a nap, etc., I choose to run to God for parental refuge! It sets the tone that we make rules not just based on what we want to do, but God’s leading in our life based on His Word.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Alyson McPhee

10. Fosters the Family Bond.

10. Fosters the Family Bond.

The ripple effect of each personality and personal journey is unique in every home, but not one is less important or worthy of God’s presence at the table. We live in a broken world, full of challenges that none of us are equipped to master completely. Imagine all the different scenarios around the world at dinnertime each day. Some tables full of people and food. Others are completely empty as dinner is grabbed on the go. Still others are mourning an empty seat at the table or scrambling to adjust to the addition of another.

Whatever family we’ve been blessed with, table we gather around, and food we break together, embrace what God has purposely given. The people in our families are meant to be bonds unique to any other. The more we choose to see each other in His light, the more we will bond and grow to know who we are in Christ. Each a unique creation, with a specific purpose. Through all the fart jokes, manners meltdowns, tumultuous discussions and tearful episodes, stick it out. Family is a gift.

Meg Bucher (Megs) writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, https://sunnyand80.org.Her passion is to encourage others to seek Him first. She’s a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer and blogger, Bible study and children’s worship team leader, residing in Ohio with her husband of ten years, two dancing daughters, and their Golden-doodle.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jasmin Schreiber