This I Believe

Gebran - 92203, California
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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Bring Back the Family Dinner

What ever happened to the family dinner? This seldom practiced tradition is in danger of becoming extinct in current society. Today we live in a fast paced culture in which people are disconnected from one another. The family dinner is a ritual which engenders a healthier family structure and dynamic. The dinner allows time for family discussion, guidance, and reconnection.

Family discussion has diminished due to the time demands of school, work, and activities. The family dinner provides a place to discuss politics, current events, and issues regarding the family. Parents stay informed on their children’s activities and friends. Children can voice their concerns and have a safe outlet for their feelings. Family discussion at dinner helps children feel comfortable talking to and trusting adults. As children hear their parents’ views it establishes the framework for instilling family values.

The dinner table is a natural place for the exchange of ideas. We live in an electronic age where people are becoming distant and disconnected. Almost everyone is connected to some sort of electronic device; parents are watching television, children are on the internet. There are negative influences at school which parents need to understand in order to prevent children from getting into trouble. The family dinner can allow time for everyone to debrief on the day’s events. It is a place where parents can provide guidance to their children to counteract all of the influence from their electronic and external sources.

Dining together as a family gives each person a sense of belonging. It helps people slow down, calm down, and reconnect. Parents can share anecdotes about relatives and the immediate family which gives children a sense of family history. This strengthens the bonds that connect parent to child. When children share information and stories with their parents and vice versa it closes the generation gap. Reconnecting reminds children of their family support system, which gives children a sense of security and stability.

After working all day or going to school and doing homework, the family dinner provides an hour of respite from the hectic pace of life. It establishes a ritual to depend on and provides a comforting arena to share our lives. Sharing our life experiences strengthens the institution of family.