Friday, January 9, 2009

Eating and cooking meals together as a family is NOT old-fashioned!

Today I got an email from my brother about all these "old fashioned" things that people used to do -- and it began with a story about a boy asking him (not really, but it's a story) about where he ate fast food when he was a kid. It went on and on about the "good old days" when things were different. It got me thinking -- things aren't different in my house and this is how I responded back to him:

What do you mean -- use to do all this? I don't know about other families, but we still eat slow food that Mom cooks almost every day and when Dad gets home from work we sit down together at the dining room table and eat together -- at least 6 days a week and the only reason we don't do it on Wednesday night is because we have Awana (a program that helps us to study and learn about the Bible) and we have a time constraint.

In our house, if the kids don't eat the meal, they have the option of making something for themselves, like a PBJ sandwich or they starve. I tell them I am not a restaurant. If we eat out, it is always with coupons for free food! Last month we spent (with Abigail here) about $20 for the entire month eating out. We went out 3 times last month and twice we took Abigail and Lili with us! Sometimes mom needs a little break from cooking.....

Dad is good about helping in the kitchen too -- either cooking a meal on weekends or cleaning up dishes, making sure the kitchen is spotless before going to bed. Joshua is the "chef" helper many nights, chopping food, stirring the pots or flipping the things in the frying pan.

My kids are required to set the table (full place setting, including salad forks when we have salad) and clear the dishes (all of them) before they can do other things. And, yes, they still must ask permission to leave the table -- "Mom, may I please be excused?" is heard nearly every night, except when the doorbell rings or the phone rings and then sometimes mom or dad are distracted and they start cleaning up the table instead (guess that's a good trade-off!).

Good-OLD days -- never. It's never old fashioned to teach children the value of manners and the value of a hard-earned living. There is nothing that can take the place of a family meal eaten together or teaching children the value of work before play......I'm just sorry more people in this world would rather run their children to soccer practice, baseball practice, ballet or music lessons, or shove them into a van and drive through a fast food drive-through than to slow down and realize that children are only children once in their lifetimes. They will have plenty of time to stay busy.....now is the time to teach them the value of being a family and spending time together......

Just my two-cents worth of advice for every family out there -- not something I just preach, but I practice almost every day! Actions do speak louder than words!

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