This I Believe

Michael - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Entered on April 16, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family
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I Believe in Family Supper Time

I believe that family supper time is fast becoming a lost art. I grew up in a family of 4 boys and a baby sister. Our lives as kids and teenagers evolved around the normal things kids do such as school activities, hanging out with our friends, church, and sports. There was always some place to go and something to do that kept us all busy and on the run. However, one thing that was a priority at our house was family supper time.

Mom stayed at home and took care of the kids every day. Dad worked pretty much daylight to dark, 6 days per week. Back then, I really never knew why supper time was a priority; I just knew you needed to be there for supper. You did not want to miss out on something. I now realize the only opportunity we had to consistently spend time together as a family unit was at the nightly supper table.

Mom somehow managed to have the food hot and ready regardless of what time Dad got in from work. Supper started when Dad sat down to eat. We would gather round, start passing the food and begin the conversations.

The supper table was where everyone got to talk about their day. There was no agenda or set way we went about things. Just free flowing conversation, chatter and banter. No subject was off limits and every one was free to express and defend their opinions.

My brother Sanford and Dad were the joke tellers in the family. They would always have a new joke or funny story to tell. Laughter was always in abundance. We laughed at and with each other. There were also plenty of serious conversations about issues of the day such as integration, the war in Vietnam, politics, drugs, you name it. Nothing was out of bounds.

What I remember now from those family suppers so long ago is the life lessons that Mom and Dad would weave in the conversations. Things such as: “The two most important things are your faith and your family. Nothing is so big that you and God can not handle it. Respect others and their opinions. Always do your best and you will never be disappointed in yourself. Don’t quit (if you start it – you finish it). Act right, do right and in the end you will be all right. No matter what, your family is always there for you”.

It is amazing how time filters our memories. As the years go by, time seems to focus our memories on what is really important and valuable to each of us. I can not remember all the jokes and funny stories but I can remember the values and life lessons that were taught to us around the supper table. Mom and Dad are gone now but the lessons live on in me and my siblings. We are doing our best to hopefully pass these lessons on to our own children.

In today’s even more hectic and fast paced world, I believe that maybe we should revive the lost art of the family supper time. This is one thing that I know and believe — it is a marvelous thing to break bread, share conversation and build wonderful memories.