Monday, July 22, 2013

Family Time at the Dinner Table

Sarah came home from school one day with this drawing
of her family at the dinner table and it made me smile.
I read about it many times in countless parenting magazines, online sites and blogs how important it is for families to find a meal time in the day to sit down all together and eat and converse.

Once my daughter got older, when her meals no longer involved my boobs, and when she was on our dinner schedule, I made it a habit to make sure that we all sat down together to eat and talk.

When living in an apartment our dining table was always covered in boxes with products that Daniel was writing reviews about. So, we sat at Sarah's little table and chairs outside the kitchen.  It doesn't matter how small or big your table or space is. It's the time together that matters most.

Dinner time is a staple in our family.  While morning and lunch time are not regular for us all to be at the table at the same time, dinner is truly our bonding moment.  With busy work schedules, extracurricular activities, and sometimes business travel, and if only one of us is available to sit with Sarah then that still indeed happens.

The time together at the table, whether in the kitchen or dining room, depending on our mood, and which one is cleaner to set, has become our time to unwind, learn of each others days, play educational games, and even talk about history and tell stories.

Tonight was no different from any other night. Because of the plethora of discussions we have had to date, and the many stories we have shared and educated Sarah on over the years, I was not surprised at all when she asked tonight, "Daddy, please tell the story of the lady who chose to sit in the front of the bus."

Right then and there I knew I had to blog about this experience as it was further reinforcement that this special time together is imperative and so incredibly important, and valuable.  Tonight was not so much for the story about Rosa Parks and the incredible strength she embodied as an advocate for civil right but more so that we have open dialogue with our daughter and we discuss many topics and historical moments.

Our dinner table has become a solid ground for open communication, learning opportunities, chances to be silly, and more.

Daniel and I have felt very strong about being honest with Sarah about life.  While we don't elaborate on some things in great detail so as not to scare her, being five and all, but to raise her to be comfortable asking questions, talking openly and freely and to know that her parents are here to listen and share perspective and know that she has a voice a the table.

We are also Sarah's teachers.  We don't rely on just what she learns in school and we feel it is our responsibility, and desire, to share with her what we know, and want to educate her, in a setting we have created as comfortable environment and setting welcome for discussion.

It's incredible to watch our children grow up.  We laugh at the things they say sometimes amazed at what they know and remember.  Tonight was an incredibly proud moment because to Sarah life is not just the silly, pretend stories, but the stories of life past, present and future.

Here is to many more nights at the dinner table. I look forward to the many more conversations, learnings and stories that lie ahead as we raise Sarah to think for herself, ask question, and inquire to want to know more.

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