Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Around Thanksgiving our focus turns to food and family.
Interestingly, the two things that are given so much emphasis at this time of year, appear to be connected in some very important ways. Recently the internet has provided some articles featuring the results of a study showing how important family meals can be...
According to a study done by the National Center on Substance and Addiction at Colombia University, when comparing adolescents who eat dinner 0-2 times a week with their families and those who eat dinner 5-7 times, those who eat with their families more frequently are 40% more likely to talk to their parents about a problem. Meanwhile, 171% of the teens who don't eat with their families note more tension at home.
Academic performance went up 38%. Kids were 142% less likely to smoke, 93% less likely to drink, 191% less likely to use marijuana and 169% less likely to have more than half of their friends be drug users.
There is an initiative online called "Grace Before Meals", it is a movement that has been started by Fr. Leo Pataglinghug, "The Cooking Priest". He has some great ideas and tips to get things flowing, and he wants to make this a national effort.
These are all great reasons to get started eating meals together, but the most important reason to share a special time each day, is that families grow and change so fast. One day you are spooning strained carrots between the gums of your six month old, and then you turn around and your 16 year old is asking for seconds. The family meal brings us together every day and gives us an opportunity to share, nurture, and learn about the people we love. It may be the only time that Dad gets to hear about the Science Fair project, or it might be a time when Dear Daughter can discuss her difficulty with another girl at school.
Our lives are moving at the speed of electrons these days. It can be tempting to leave something in the fridge, for everyone to grab, and hope to have a quick chat before bedtime, but if this becomes a habit, the days will fly by filled with everything but time together. If we can make meal time our own, claim it for our families, we will have those times to build a foundation for the future.