Have you ever thought about the impact that eating as a family has on … well, your family? Coordinating our family members to sit down at the dinner table for nightly family dinners (let alone three meals a day) can feel like a chore, especially if your children are heavily involved in extracurricular activities. But, the Family Meal carries a meaning far beyond the food we put on the table. This is one tradition that transcends across all cultures and carries the same significance where ever we go – it’s the ultimate sign of love, respect, and devotion. Yet, it seems to be falling by the wayside as a forgotten tradition. Even when families do sit down for meals together, we’re not truly engaged when we invite our mobile devices and iPads to the table and interact with it more than the person from which we sit across.

Yes, family meals can sometimes be uncomfortable with unwanted bickering and maybe even the occasional flare up between parent and rebellious child. But, they are so much more than a forced occasion to sit together once per day and quickly eat our meal. It’s an opportunity for parents to teach their children table manners through action rather than dictation; it is a time dedicated to share stories and listen about each other’s day; and it is an investment for the future (yes, an investment) in that children who eat more often with their families are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and are more likely to do well in school – and to eat their vegetables.

Food is sacred, but the time you spend “breaking bread” with your family is even more sacred. So at your next Family Meal, turn off the TV, ban the electronic devices, and open up the floor for conversation and listening to one another. Use this time to revive your family identity, culture, and traditions for you children to pass on for generations to come.

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