As a child growing up, I have very few memories of the times we gathered as a family to sit down and eat dinner together. I grew up in a home where both of my parents worked. My mother taught school, and my father worked the graveyard shift at a local tire manufacturing plant. There was not much time available for us to sit down to eat dinner together due to my parents conflicting work schedules and the extra curricular activities in which my sister and I participated. The question “what’s for dinner?” usually came up as we were headed out the door for dance lessons, or some other function. It wasn’t until I got married and had two children of my own that I began to realize the importance of eating dinner together.
It seems as though life gets busier and busier everyday, and my kids are involved in activities, which require time commitments for practices, lessons, or games. In a society such as ours, it is more important than ever to carve out time to spend with your family even if it is just for dinner. In my family there are elements that take us away from each other, day in and day out, but as a mother I feel it is my responsibility to bring us all back together again at the end of the day. The family tradition of dinner together seems to have gone by the way side for many American families. In my house, dinnertime is a time of thanks. I give thanks for the food we share, but I am more thankful for the family I share it with. Dinnertime is a time for us to share our day, and reflect on our thoughts. It is also a time where we learn about honesty, perseverance, courage, compassion, and friendship. Above all it is a time where my family is able to connect with the ones they love.
As I look at the bread basket which sits on my kitchen table I am reminded of how the baskets tight weave resembles the tightly woven strands of my family. I believe that through our family dinners, we will not only pass around the meat and potatoes, but we will also pass along virtues that will shape and mold us so that we can forever embrace one another just as the basket embraces the bread.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.