Family dinners have changed a bit around here. I still cook dinner every night. And we still do our best to sit down and eat together. But, what we do during and after dinner is what's important to us now.
I've changed up our table centerpiece a bit, which helps:
Even though table manners and eating at least three bites of veggies is important, it's way more important for us as parents to talk to our kids and get to know their hearts. Their highs and lows for the day. Funny, embarrassing moments. Frustrations, things that made them sad. We want to know about it all.
And, after dinner is done - while everyone's still seated at the table - we're using that time for family devotions and prayer. It helps the kids work on their reading skills, and we're bonding more as a family.
Is there anything sweeter than that?
But, let's get real. Family dinners aren't always easy. With three kids at all different ages, dinnertime can turn into crazy circus time in a nanosecond. Jake finishes his meals in lightning speed and is always ready for seconds...or thirds. Brooklyn's an extremely picky eater these days and her food often needs reheated two or three times just to get a few bites in. (Which requires a lot of patience and encouragement on our part and involves plenty of pouting on her end.) And Connor? Well, at two, he's a wild man in and of himself!
Most nights are crazy and chaotic, and some nights are pretty darn good. But, no matter how hard and difficult it gets, we're pushing through and keeping family dinners a priority.
We're building character and love, integrity and faith - a relationship with our kids I hope they'll always treasure. A foundation, a legacy they can give to their children one day.