Just for One Night

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January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Family

It started with my grandfather. He was very strict. His word was law in my mother’s house. And one thing he was especially strict about was eating meals together. My mom got that from him. She was (and still is) very strict when it comes to eating meals together. She believes that eating meals together not only strengthens family relationships but it also inculcates the right values in the especially impressionable minds of children. At the dinner table, food would not be passed without the magic word. This made me remember one incident in the grocery where a kid was on the floor, throwing a tantrum, bawling his lungs out and flailing his arms and legs because he wanted a bag of cookies. His mom was looking on helplessly, biting her lip, unsure of what to do. She ended up grabbing the box of cookies her child wanted. The child smiled smugly, probably secure in the thought that he can get always what he wanted by throwing a tantrum. I shook my head thinking of the thousands, even millions of children who were like him. Are we instilling the right kind of values to our children nowadays? In the hustle and bustle of this busy world, do we actually take time to teach good manners? Do we guide them through the sensitive and difficult parts of their life? Do we correct them gently but firmly in their mistakes? I appreciate my mother for doing that and even more. But I do believe that it’s not a generation thing (they had more time, they had no career, etc.), it’s about setting our priorities.

For this night, even just for tonight, please give it a try, please give it time. Eat with your children. Talk to them about the day’s affairs; your day and theirs. Take it slow. Smile at their experiences, congratulate them on their triumphs and laugh at their funny stories. Even just for one night. You might find yourself wanting to do it every night. And for those who are worrying (or are panicky) what to do or talk about, I know you’ll love this article on mealtime activities. As for me, I have to arrange dinner with my mom. I miss her cooking.

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