As children, both my husband and I were used to having dinner in what many would now call the traditional way – at the dining room table. After a hard day at school, and an equally harder day for our parents at work, we would all sit around the table as a family every weekday evening and eat dinner together. This was the time when we could all just sit and talk to one another. No distractions – just the meal and the company of one another.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and we too now have a dining table in our home. But, whereas the dining table was once a hub of family activity around the world, today in many homes a huge proportion of families will admit to not even owing a table. Whilst I understand that modern life is completely different to perhaps the more sedentary lifestyle we once lived as children, I can’t help but feel sad whenever I learn that most children will never eat a meal at the table over the course of their childhood.
The Significance of The Dining Table
I do not consider myself to be old fashioned. I don’t expect my children to keep their elbows off the table always, and I most certainly don’t expect them to know how to use the correct cutlery as per restaurant style! We do not own an expensive dining table and it is most certainly not in a dining room of its own.
No, our table is in the heart of the kitchen. A second hand extended table, it has perhaps seen better days, with many a pen or paint mark dotted around it, which I try but fail to keep covered by a variety of table cloths! But, none of this is what really matters. Who sits around the table is the most important aspect.
A Table Where Gadgets Have No Place
We use our table very evening for a family meal. It is the one time of the day where we are all together, and the one time of the day where the children can talk openly about their day, expressing any concerns or worries. They have our undivided attention at this point and, when coupled with the aroma of comforting home-made food, they feel safe and able to confide in us. The only rules in place at our table is no gadgets whatsoever – and yes, that includes the adults!
It needn’t be big, new, shiny or even in the dining room. But when you take all the gadgets and distractions away, and sit down together as a family, you will find this is the most rewarding family experience that money simply can’t by.