When I was younger, I used to love how every evening we would gather around the table and just talk about how our day went. Of course, for a preschool child there is not much to say on that subject, except talking about the new words I had learned or the paintings I had made; which I truly considered a masterpiece by the way (that is, my colored finger pads randomly pasted on a white paper). We used to do this around dinner time because at that time everyone would be home, kindly sitting around the dinner table and sharing a homemade casserole (surely one of Mom’s favorites) while listening to each others stories. But it wasn’t so much about the type of meals we would share – because quite frankly, there were times it was just pizza – It was mostly about the togetherness of the moment.
The magic of family dinners lies in the intimacy and the closeness brought by that very special moment. Despite our disagreements, laughter and cries; around the dining table we would all bond, seamlessly. This was even more important as a moment of reconnection because dinner time was the only moment where we would actually see each other and talk together. The truth is, we would leave the house early in the morning for our individual occupations but when we would gather back in the evening around the dining table, we would become one. My older sister always looked forward to talking about her new job, and my mother would never miss an opportunity to congratulate my younger brother on his academic achievements. Dad would share jokes about crazy things that had happened during the day, and we would all laugh until we couldn’t anymore. And even when our occasional arguments would tense up the mood, we would learn to forgive each other and move on. Thus, the family dinner tradition made our daily evenings and our times as a family even more cherished.
Unfortunately though, this tradition is being lost nowadays. The value of a family dinner has been deteriorated, and people have transitioned from eating together around the table, to now grabbing a plate and withdrawing to one’s room or in front of the television. What we fail to realize is that families that don’t share a bonding time could potentially break into separate units; simply because they don’t know each other and don’t spend time together. I didn’t know how important something as simple as a family dinner was, but as I’ve grown up, I am glad I know it now. The tradition of family dinners creates simple yet irreplaceable memories that contribute to a child’s development in all aspects: personal, intellectual and social. And as a child learns to cherish family values from his young age, he will later on become prone to pass on these values to his offspring, and if possible – why not – create his own traditions.
Traditions such as family dinners are the little things that can strengthen the family unit by making us love each other more, because a family that eats together, laughs together, and stays together.