Above Rubies Daily Encouragement Blogs
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WHAT HAPPENS AT YOUR TABLE?
The following are some ideas that I have found helpful in maintaining togetherness at our family meal table.
EVERYONE COMES TO THE TABLE ON TIME
I believe it is important to train our children to come to the table the moment we call. Of course, they will know the approximate time of the meal and can anticipate it. They should also be in the kitchen at this time, helping with the meal and setting the table, so they shouldn’t be too far away.
SET THE TABLE ATTRACTIVELY
The Bible speaks about SETTING the table. Proverbs 9:2 (CJB) says: “She has prepared her food, spiced her wine, and she has set her table.” A lovely set table draws the family to come. Use a tablecloth. Maybe even add candles or a centerpiece. This is not extra work for you if you train your children. Organize them to take turns and have competitions to see how attractively they can make the table.
If you are in the stage with little toddlers and can’t imagine the thought of washing an extra tablecloth, purchase a pretty one and cover it with clear plastic. All you have to do is wipe it down at the end of the meal.
THINK OF SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
Have you noticed that if you don’t prepare something to talk about, the conversation goes nowhere? It is often quite boring and shallow. When I prepare the meal, I like to also think about what we will discuss at the evening meal.
Ask the children a question (and make sure everyone at the table gets an opportunity to share their point or view). Or bring a subject to the table for them to discuss (and once again, make sure each one takes a turn to speak, even the youngest child). This changes your table time from nothingness to wonderful memories—or even a riot or a revival! I can remember when sometimes one of the children would stand up on their chairs with their fingers waiving to make sure they got their point across! Our table was never boring.
If you are at a loss to think of subjects, go to DINNER TIME CONVERSATIONS: http://aboverubies.org/…/797-family-meal-table-dinner-time-…
ONE CONVERSATION ONLY
Although we allowed our children freedom to speak, we only allowed one at a time. We never allow separate conversations to carry on at the table. Everyone must be focused on the subject the whole family is discussing. It is not etiquette for some people at the table to personally speak to each other when there is a family discussion in progress. Children should also learn this etiquette for when they visit other families. They should give undivided attention to the focus of discussion at the table.
IPHONES ARE BANNED
I do not allow iPhones at the table. The table is a time of family togetherness. We come to interact and communicate with one another, not other people who are not at the table. This is the height of rudeness!
STAY UNTIL THE END
I expect everyone to stay at the table until the meal is finished. That means staying until we have enjoyed Family devotions together—the reading of God’s Word and prayer. Interestingly, in the Netherlands, they call Family Devotions “Finishing up the Meal.” Reading God’s Word and praying together is how they finish up their meal! This also means not popping up and down throughout the meal.
CLEAR THE TABLE AFTER PRAYER
I have found that if we begin to clear the dishes away from the table before devotions, it is difficult to get everyone back to the table again. Once they are up, they start disappearing. Therefore, we do not clear the plates away until we have enjoyed our reading the prayer together.
Many blessings to you from Nancy Campbell