Family dinners are something that are becoming less and less common. Between extracurricular activities, and work we are busier than ever. Conversation and connecting are becoming lost arts.
Being intentional about passing on our faith is something that is vital to Christian parents. Having a dinner as a family is a great opportunity to pass along faith. While not every meal or conversation will be about faith, it does often provide teachable moments, as well as relationship to build them up in the faith. A lot more is caught than taught. Seeing you make family time a priority will set them up well for the future.
I firmly believe that quantity time leads to quality time. If we try to force quality time, many times is only stressful, yet if we have quantity time, quality time, those moments that you and your kids will remember, tend to just happen.
I understand many parents want their kids in lots of activities for various reasons, but if you are constantly running, please show them how to slow and enjoy what is really important.
Faith at Home is something that I have shared about before.
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” -Andy Stanley
If we want our children to see our faith as more than rules, we need to model it for them, and relationship is key. Family dinners are such an important tool.
Even the secular world is acknowledging the benefits of family dinners.
Having dinner as a family has been shown to have many benefits including promoting literacy in young children, reduced risk of obesity, better mental health for teens, improved academics, as well as reduce the risk of substance abuse.
Children that eat with their parents tend to be more adventurous eaters.
It is a great time to practice good manners (another lost art I fear), compassion, forgiveness, joy, respect, patients, kindness, self-control, and empathy.
You show and pass along your family values during dinners together.
It might not be easy if you are making this as a big change, but it is well worth it. Just set your mind to it, and understand that there will be an adjustment period.
Put the phones in a basket away from the table. Give your undivided attention to those around you.
Meals do not need to be fancy. Real food does not have to take long or be complicated. (You can check out my review of 100 Days of Real Food Fast and Fabulous here, and the 100 Days of Real Food Blog is a fantastic resource)
These resources are not Christian, but they offer some great tools and information:
The Family Dinner Project Benefits of Family Dinners (They have a ton of resources including conversation starters)
It’s Science:Eat Dinner Together
This year, let’s take time to be intentional about breaking bread together as a tool to pass along our faith.
Need some ideas to get conversations going? Check out Family Dinner Games.
Do you regularly have family dinners? Is there something holding you back? What do you find is the biggest challenge in having regular family dinners?
7 thoughts on “Intentional Family Dinners”
Yes! I love this.
One reason why we started celebrating the Shabbat (aka Sabbath) was to be intentional as a family, and to invite guests over.
We had a group of American university students over one year when they did an outreach over here (in Germany). Since sitting down and eating together is an integral part of our household, we included them in it. When they left, that was the most resounding comment from them all – we didn’t realize how great it was to sit down and eat together. Then they started doing it in the dorms. I firmly believe the God’s kingdom happen at the table 🙂
Here is my latest post on our Shabbat meal: