Dinnertime – the way God made it

Ahhh, dinnertime….The time of the day when family gathers around the table to break bread and talk about the day.  Doesn’t that sound so restful and nice?  If only it were true.

Dinnertime is hectic.  What time will Daddy be home?  Who’s going to feed the dog, set the table, pour the milk?  What am I going to make for dinner?  Should have thought about that at 2:00 this afternoon when all was quiet and no one was starving.

Yet somehow we manage each night to prepare the dinner and sit together.  Unfortunately the sitting together doesn’t last long.  The moment I sit down I jump up again because I’ve forgotten something.  Then I sit but send a kid to the bathroom because he’s forgotten to wash his hands.  He returns to the table but I get up again to let the dog in because she’s barking and disrupting the neighbor’s peaceful dinner – someone needs to have one!

I’ve come to realize that dinner, at this stage in our lives, is less about the food and more about family.  Dinner forces us to sit together and share moments from our day.  On our best nights we laugh at jokes, stories and silliness.  On our worst nights there are time-outs, food struggles and leftover infractions from the day to discipline.

Regardless of the type of night we are learning more about our family and these little people we call our kids.  They are developing their personalities and trying  things out on us to see how we’ll react.  Take tonight for example.  Here is the dialogue between me and our oldest son….

“Eat your dinner.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Well at least eat your chicken.”

“I don’t like chicken.”

“What! What kid doesn’t like chicken nuggets?”

“I just can’t help it, that’s the way God made me.”

I had to laugh at his new angle.  He’s a terrible eater, probably not God’s plan.  I probably made him a terrible eater by not underscoring the importance of peas and no thank you helpings.  My husband and I decided early on that we were not going to have the high stress “eat that” dinners of our childhood.  I’m learning now that we made the wrong choice.  I pray that at some point his appetite will outpace his stubbornness and he’ll learn to love food.

In the meantime I leave him with some religious words from his maker:  Just remember son, man cannot live on bread alone.  Take those words from God literally not just figuratively.