How did your family do things when you were growing up? Did you watch television together? Did you go on vacation together? Did you play games? Did you eat dinner together? I can remember growing up, and having dinner at the table in the evenings when my parents got home from work. I also remember helping my mom make dinner, and I even made dinner before she got home when I got older. We always sat down for dinner in the evening, talked about the day, and plans for the weekend. It was an important way to bond as a family and feel connected.
Today, as families seem to be disconnecting from each other, having dinner together is that much more important. My family sits down for dinner at the table in the evening, just like my family did. We talk about homework, how the day went, tell jokes, and plan for the future. I believe that this helps my kids feel connected, and allows them to voice opinions about things that we are doing as a family. I think that encourages confidence and helps them understand the world. It sounds simple, when I think about it, but I thinks it’s a simple way to keep the family connected.
These days, it’s easy for kids to get lost and disconnect from the world. They are on the internet, in their rooms, and “talking” to people online. I get concerned about the upcoming generation losing their ability to manage conversations and face to face interactions. Learning how to interact and hold conversations is a skills that kids must have to be successful in life. From talking to the person at the local grocery store to confronting problems in the community, kids need experience and support to understand how the world works. That’s why I won’t let my kids withdraw into the internet world. I struggled for a time with my oldest. She was struggling at school and tried hard to push me away. She went through a phase were she just wanted to wear black, and got very sad. She was very upset with me for about 2 years, but I wouldn’t let her withdraw. I forced her to buy some clothing that had colors, and I continued to force her into safe interactions with me and family members. She struggled, but now she is more outgoing, wearing more color, and more interactive with everyone.
Family interactions are important, and help kids develop social skills that they will use for a lifetime. They learn how to follow rules, play games, and understand relationships. Something as simple has having dinner together helps to shape kids into who they become, and provides skill building for a lifetime of success. Don’t underestimate simple family time and interactions, and how they can help your kids become happy, healthy adults.
The moral of this story is to spend time together. Play card games and do things together. Spend time as a family. Some of my favorite memories growing up took place in the kitchen. Some traumatic memories too, like when my mom cut her finger and I passed out on the kitchen floor. Cook together, have dinner together, and sit at the same table to eat. Enjoy the time, and enjoy each other, because you never know what the future might hold. It’s all part of being happy for life.