This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 8th, 2002

About the Table

Last time we talked about civility and manners and all the neat things which make our everyday life enjoyable - more than just livable. The response on the Bulletin Board and by email was how much our readers appreciated my comments, and little things like "pass the biscuits, please," and "do I have to take my hat off at the table?" It struck a nerve.

That got me thinking about the amount of communication which should go on in a family, or between a husband and wife. I do know that in some families any meal together is not pleasant, it is more of a screaming match between kids and/or parents. That simply is not acceptable. (It makes it nearly impossible to properly digest ones food for one thing.) But the more important part is kids need to learn that proper, acceptable manners and consideration in their own household is just as important as "behaving" any where else.

Mealtime is not the place to verbally beat on the kids for any reason. It is a time to have real, meaningful conversation. What are the kids interests? How are they doing in school? Are they involved in any sports? How do they feel about that? Do you really know who their friends are? If they don't have real conversations with you at the dinner table, how can you expect them to have a conversation with you about a problem? Meal time is also a great time to praise kids for anything you can think of they did right. It builds self-esteem, pride and self confidence. Not to mention trust in you.

One of my dear friends mentioned in passing that he and his wife rarely have a meal together. I do understand what it is to live in a household where both husband and wife work - and if they have different schedules it's even worse. One of the real problems of our society today really. But though it may be difficult, I do believe it's important to not just try, but to plan to have meals together.

We are social beings - we need the interaction of our familes to fill out our world. We need to be loved and cherished. We need to be understood, and we need to understand those we love. It is impossible to do that or be in a real relationship without that interaction. It's called conversation.

Our television sets are on almost non-stop. We use it as background - and when they are on we don't talk. You might interrupt the train of throught of the person watching the program. Try sitting down to a meal with the TV off. You will be surprised at how quiet it is. Perfect for a nice visit. When is the last time you asked your spouse (or significant other - gads how I hate that term) about their dreams? Where do they want to be in a year? Ten? Ever?

It's time to re-connect with the family - and allow yourself to feel. To be the person you know you are. Have a nice dinner. ~ LadyFisher

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