Or maybe a more contemporary question would be, "What's dinner?"
Last year I tried really hard to scale back the evenings that I need to be out of the house, for work or meetings, to the point where I wasn't working at all. The meetings are sometimes unavoidable, but they are fewer. My reason for this was that I was feeling called to get the family back together around the dinner table as many nights per week as possible. I have been following this blog, and what Fr Leo says just makes so much sense. I thought about how little time we have left before the boys have jobs, go off to college and have families of their own. I figured out the number of chances to eat dinner as a family, and I could see them passing far too quickly.
So, I decided that I would make a real meal at least five days a week. It is mostly successful.
However, the rest of the world isn't getting on board, and it's the world we live in.
I asked a class of kids that I was teaching about eating meals as a family. I was trying to help them see the relationship between meals that we eat as a family, and the Mass as a time to gather as the family of God. I was shocked when only about three out of the 25 kids that were there could remember the last time the whole family sat down at the table together. Some of them said, "Thanksgiving".
What's the big deal, really?
Sports and other activities are important to families. Moms and dads are pressed for time and something has to give.
One thing that is for sure, family life as a whole has become something to be managed.
It used to be much easier when there were fewer roles for each member of the family to fulfill, fewer activities to be managed, and more hours at home in the evenings.
It would seem that a homeschooling family would have a much easier time making family time at home work. Stay-at-home moms are at home, right? Don't they spend the day with the kids, in the kitchen, working on yummy recipes and filling the fridge with wholesome dinner ingredients?
Well....yes and no.
I do try to limit our out-of-the-house activities during the school day. But as for staying home, well that's getting tougher and tougher. The dinner hour appears to be prime time for sports, lessons and other things that don't happen at school. Most of the kids activities happen at around 6:30. Tim gets home around 5:30, so we are slamming down dinner to get everyone out the door to Robotics, Piano, practice, or Bible Study.
Not really the quality time that I would like, but better than nothing.
I don't know the answer. These kids are all into some really great stuff.
We don't want to stop those things, because they are home all day, and they need to be with other kids and adults.
I guess I will just keep doing what I am doing and try to come up with something to keep bringing them back.