Above Rubies Daily Encouragement Blogs
Through the weekly and daily devotionals you can be constantly encouraged in your great role of parenting, the highest career in the nation. You can also stay updated on what's happening with the Above Rubies ministry.
YOU CREATE YOUR WORLD
Dear Ladies, Today I would like to address comments from my last post, CHAOS OR ORDER AT THE TABLE. Scroll down and read it if you haven’t already.
I was sad to read that many do not enjoy mealtimes with their families. They feel they are chaotic and everyone talks over the top of one another.
One mother of teenagers down to little ones writes: “The children have weird conversations with each other and my husband I often just tune it out.” And there were similar comments. Dear mothers, can I remind you that you and your husband decide what happens at your table. Not the children! We as parents create the world we want in our home. We create the atmosphere. We determine what happens at the family meal table.
When I prepare the food for our evening meal, I not only think about food for the body, but food for the soul. I find it is just as important to meditate about what we will speak about at the table as prepare the meal. I find that if my husband and I do not bring a question or a subject to discuss to the table the conversation goes nowhere. It’s usually about nothing. Or small talk that is a waste of time. It seems futile. Is that what you find at your table?
You can change that! Come to the table prepared with a subject to talk about. Of course, this will depend on the season and ages of your children. If you have little children, bring a very simple question such as “What was the best thing you did today?” Encourage each child to share and then Daddy and Mommy must also talk about the best thing that happened to them. It’s for the whole family.
As your children get older you can bring subjects to the table to discuss—fun topics, political, geographical, spiritual, or biblical. Here’s one that our children loved when growing up. We often asked this question as they never tired of it: “If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?” Or, “If you had all the money in the world and you could go to any country in the world, which country would you choose and why?”
Get every child to have their turn, including mother and father. No one is exempt. No one is left out. Even in the midst of a large corporate family, each child receives their own personal attention. When each child has their turn, they are the center of attention, from mother and father and the rest of the family. They hold the floor!
Also, in this way, no one talks over the top of one another. Each one has their turn. Oh yes, they may try to do this, but both you and your husband will curb this and keep order. You are in charge, not them!
Sometimes when we would bring a controversial subject to the table, the children would all try to have their say at once, sometimes getting up on their chair to get their point across. We birthed loud and opinionated children who became more opinionated the older they got! However, we still didn’t allow them to take over. We allowed them to freely express their opinions, which we loved them to do, but they had to have turns! My husband was always the umpire!
Here’s another important thing to remember at your table. My husband and I have never allowed personal conversations with other members of the family at the table. The table is for togetherness. When one member speaks at the table, it is for the whole family to hear. It is time for family communication, not personal conversation which they can have at any time. Therefore, apart from asking someone to pass something to them on the table, all conversations are for everyone to hear. Sometimes we have people come to our table who will begin to whisper or talk to the person next to them. It grieves me when this happens, and I realize they haven’t been taught true table manners. Establish this rule in your family. It will save chaos at your table and you will train your children how to act when they sit at other’s people’s tables.
I will give you a couple of links of questions you can ask the children at your table. I keep a copy of these lists above my fridge. Sometimes when I am tired and cannot think of something new, I will refer to them, so we always have something to bring to the table to keep the conversation spicy and encourage heart and soul communication.
This is what the table is all about—communication and fellowship. That’s why we sit around a table, so we can look a one another’s faces. Food releases the wonderful stress-relieving hormone of oxytocin when you eat with others in a relaxed atmosphere. It doesn’t do you any good when you eat on your own or while looking at the back of someone’s head in the car! Do it the Bible way—sitting around the table (Psalm 128:3).
I will address other remarks tomorrow.
Be blessed at your table today,
Painting: “Glory of Evening” by Thomas Kinkade. God intends the evening meal to be a time of glory in your home, a time when you all enjoy one another and where God comes to join your table with His presence.