When we become overwhelmed by the way life can steal our sense of peace, give some thought and prayer to ways you can reign in the overcommitment, and gather nightly as a family around a nutritious meal. When we are just hanging on all the time, the REAL needs of our souls are ignored, which is the twin necessity for relationship and food. It is all symptomatic of the SAME problem.
Relationships take time. How are you doing in your daily relationship with God? With your spouse? Kids? Neighbors? What about food, both physical AND spiritual? How’s it going getting healthy food in the lunch boxes and on the dinner table every day? Are you feeding regularly on God’s Word? Is your prayer life nutritious?
Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, think. Perhaps what are you doing now is just crazy. Does your battle with the clock rob your family of together time? Keep you away from church too often? Running through the fast food drive-through out of desperation?
DECIDE. Begin to PLAN how this COULD all go BETTER if you made even a couple of small changes. Enlist the family’s help. Start small and work your way up. And take pleasure in the results!
- Who is responsible for the food in your home?
- What are some of the food challenges you face on a daily basis? (e.g., budget limitations, picky eaters, food allergies, wacky schedules).
- What are some ways your family meets the disparate food demands of the group?
- Who decides what to eat? Where to eat? When to eat?
- Where does the food in the house come from?
- Who prepares the table, the food, and the menus?
- What kind of lunch do family members eat on weekdays?
- How often do you eat out? Is eating out usually at a fast food place?
- What are your table rules?
- How is your lack of time related to your prayer life? Your love life? Your family life? Are these issues really, at heart, just one problem?
- Let’s say that being organized is not your strength. How DOES a family meal happen without good planning? What could you do differently?
- Let’s say you are a hyper-organized agenda maker. Does your attitude sometimes feel like tyranny to the rest of the family? Is there a way to plan and be organized without acting like an Army drill sergeant?
- Make a table and put each family member’s name in a column across the top. In the rows, list out meal planning and prep issues that need to occur, and place an X in each column if that issue is age-appropriate. For example, you may place an X under Joe’s name for helping cut up veggies for lunches, because Joe is 14 and capable of safely using a knife. You might place an X under Carlie’s name in the table setting row, because she is 6 years old, and this is an age-appropriate practice. We KNOW you are BUSY, and that it often feels as if doing these things will go faster if you just do them yourself. But, making a list, and posting it on the fridge can be a reminder that you are actually helping family member contribute to meals in wonderful ways. Let them develop their talents as they help out!
A MEAL PRACTICE TO CONSIDER AND DISCUSS
- Set aside four days, on average, per week when every family member is expected to be present for an evening meal. Try to meet at the same time for each meal.
Shared Table Blessings posts will be on holiday hiatus until early 2017. Please use this time to enjoy your shared meals at home and with others! Thanks for reading.
~Julie A.P. Walton, Ph.D.