This past weekend we were able to enjoy a fun and pretty smart event at our church that involved a panel of high school and college kids who were actively following the Lord by their own choosing. The topic was something along the lines of "what did your parents do right" and was aimed at the rest of us parents who still have a chance to make good decisions. The intent wasn't to say that if we followed some sort of parental formula we'd end up with a good kid, but instead was to give us ideas and maybe more importantly to have us honestly think about what we could do to intentionally parent our kiddos.
Besides the fact that therapeutically parenting foster children makes you think about intentional parenting on a more-frequent-than-desired basis out of pure necessity, it was a great reminder.
My husband and I walked away thinking we were doing a pretty good job. There are always opportunities to do better and we can continue to work on it - that too is a daily thing - but it seems like we might be on the right track. God help us - and I really mean that.
We also walked away thinking the one thing we want to do better on is family meals. Actually, considering our circumstances we do pretty well. It's not so much that we want to do better on it, it's more about wanting to make sure that we're continuing to keep this as an important tradition in our family despite the intense pressure in our schedules to forsake it.
We are only together as a family (can you guess - how many of you already know...?) THREE times a week due to my husband's schedule. Every other week, one of those nights is taken up by church. Another of those nights is an almost weekly dinner with our friends affectionately termed G night. Yesterday we added an activity that doesn't take up the night but at least intrudes upon the regular dinnner schedule. We only have one kindergartener and we're already feeling the dinner-time squeeze.
Even still, we try to eat dinner together as a family each night. The dinner with friends is usually around a table, sitting down, eating together. On nights we eat "on the run" we still usually eat together if for no other reason than our kids are little and still need help eating - it ends up being a family affair. Most nights even when my husband isn't home I make sure we eat dinner together as a family, minus the hubby. We don't sit and watch tv. We do usually sit around the kitchen island, but we do it together, family style. Even when we go out to eat, we still sit together and make it a family dinner.
Nevertheless, one thing I was thinking was that when there are times where we can't eat dinner together as a family - times where we eat separately due to conflicting schedules or in the car like we do usually on the way to church every other week, we can institute a different-yet-similar concept.
Usually in our home dessert is eaten on the couch while we read stories, play games, or more frequently watch favorite shows like americas funniest home videos or cops.
I'm thinking those nights we miss sitting down together and eating dinner, though we'll still try to avoid them, we'll instead do an arguably more fun family dessert. We can do pizookies (a frequent favorite), plain cookies, or heck, maybe I can even make special desserts for the special occasions like a cake, cobbler, or pie. I can see us eating apple pie a la mode (though no one in my family but me would eat that) and laughing around the island, talking about our day, just like we would at a family mealtime.
Sounds like a great plan right? What do you all think?