While listening to the radio the other day, the host was asking children what their ‘school year resolution’ was. Much like a New Year’s resolution, a ‘school year resolution’ was what you hoped to accomplish, or do better in, over the course of the coming school year.
Now as you can imagine, the children had very predictable answers: get good grades, not get in trouble, participate in one activity or another, make new friends; all good things that you would expect to hear from a student of any age at the beginning of the school year.
I would like to add one more item to the list of ‘school year resolutions’ for both parents and children: plan to eat together, as a family, at least once a week.
That probably does not sound exciting or all that interesting, but it is actually pretty important. When a family eats together, they are able to discuss the activities and occurrence of the week; the family is able to pray together; the family is able to shut out all the noise and distractions of the world around them, and focus on being the family that God has called them to be. Fathers are able to father and mothers are able to mother, not in the middle of a crowded gym, or in the principal’s office, but around the table, in the confines of the family.
Around the dining room table, children learn the most important lessons of life: how husband and wife treat each other; how parents treat their children; how parents treat their parents and family; how to lead a family in devotions. Around the kitchen table, habits are formed and developed that dare I say are more important than what is taught in math class, or what book is being read in English.
Eating together as a family also weeds out the bad habits that are picked up elsewhere in the cafeteria and on the streets; habits that will become permanent if they are not caught and corrected by parents.
The family that eats together is finally a picture of what we see in the church, where the family of God comes together and eats the body and blood of Jesus at the table of our Lord, where in the community of faith, we are bound by our confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.