From the very founding of our nation, when the Pilgrims first landed on Plymouth Rock, the center of America was families. Families worked together, learned together, prayed together, and yes, they ate together. It was around the dinner table that families shared their thoughts, addressed concerns, and discussed news and current events in their community. It is where children learned proper etiquette, received their first lessons in social civility, and developed the skills of conversation. As America grew, the family dinner table became the place where liberty and tyranny were discussed at length; where Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense was introduced into family conversation, and where the Federalist Papers were read, discussed, and even debated. It was in the home that the principles of liberty were fostered and nurtured, and the dinner table became a venue for sharing revolutionary ideas.
Laurie David, in her book, “The Family Dinner,” states research has proven that everything we worry about as parents—from drugs to alcohol, promiscuity to obesity, academic achievement, and just good old nutrition—can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table. Just think of all the disputes that could be settled, the dreams that could be developed, the virtues that could be nurtured, and the relationships that could be fostered if we took the time to sit down and have dinner together as a family. We could solve so many problems ailing our society right there at the dinner table. It seems almost too simple to think eating together as a family could change the world but it is the simple things that lead to great ones. And really, what do we have to lose?
The Family Dinner Challenge!
Moms for America is issuing the Family Dinner Challenge! Just try it for one week and test it out. We’d love to hear about your experience and send us pictures we can post on Instagram to encourage and inspire other families. To jump start the challenge and help families get the most from their Family Dinner experience, we’ve created our Table Talk Sampler with great tips and ideas to make enjoyable, followed by 31 days of stories, quotes and questions to spark family conversations. The Table Talk Sampler is available at free pdf download and can all be purchased in hard copy through our webstore or on Amazon.
Once this whole Family Dinner experience catches fire, you’ll want to keep going with it–and we sure want to encourage that! So, we’ve compiled a list of additional and awesome resources to keep you connecting. All of these recommendations were compiled for highest value and greatest engagement to generate meaningful conversations, inspire critical thinking, introduce concepts of liberty and character, and strengthen family connections. This is not meant to be a time to “preach” or “lecture” it is safe, loving environment to share ideas, touch hearts and broaden minds. It is not a “safe space” where people are bullied into silence. It is a “safe place” where everyone can share their thoughts, opinions and ideas in a mutually respected and considerate manner. This is a great opportunity to help children learn how to express their opinions and respect the opinions of others–even when they disagree. When everyone feels valued, then everyone participates, then hearts can be touched and seeds planted. Here are some great resources to plant those seeds and spark conversation during Family Dinner.