As a psychotherapist I often ask the families that come to me for help when they had their last meal together as a family. I am truly horrified by what I hear. Some of the parents cannot remember when they sat with their children for a meal. Sometimes the last meal was the past Thanksgiving or Easter.
Mealtime is a time to physically nurture our bodies, we can say that with confidence, right? But what else does it have to offer? Family mealtimes offer the following:
1. Parents and children can share what they do with their days. Parents can find out what their children are up to, who their friends are, where they go after school, on dates, what their children do to keep from getting bored with life. Children can get guidance from parents on how to behave with integrity and handle tough situations that involve confusing peer pressure.
2. Parents can find out how their children are doing in school and children can ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in school.
3. Parents get to prepare and make sure their children are eating well and children get monitored to eat well.
4. Parents can discuss family plans for celebrations and vacations and children can feel as if they matter to the people they love the most.
5. Parents and children get to spend time enjoying each other, laughing, connecting, and believing that of all the places in the world, their family is the one place they can go to in order to feel loved, be forgiven, be accepted, and know they are special.
Life has a way of moving fast - don't let these precious times escape - you will not get them back - ever!