Families all over the world gathered together this past weekend in the celebration of Easter. And while there is joy in the celebration of any holiday, it is the gathering together for a meal that makes the event even more special.

As our lives get busier all the time, the family dinner has become less common. But the family dinner is where our hearts are knit together and where we reconnect. And the family dinner is about so much more than good food and nourishment. It nourishes our relationships and our souls.

It has been said that the family dinner is the #1 antidote to juvenile delinquency. Obviously this means the family dinner entails a lot more than just food. The family dinner is a place of belonging and can help troubled youth to stay connected with their family. Even if you have lost opportunities in the past with family dinners, you can begin to cultivate family closeness through the family dinner that can help the marriage bond, as well as relationships with children and grandchildren.

A safe place to communicate
Sometimes parents can lose an audience with their children because communication is always corrective. Or spouses can allow friction to impede communication rather than enjoying one another’s presence. Listen to your loved ones (make it a place where they are heard!) and create opportunities to discuss things that matter to them. Have conversation and spend time together rather than just eating and doing the dishes. Don’t let dinnertime be a time to discipline or argue. Hear their hearts.

Catching up on Life
When we get too busy, we get the “one word” answers about our loved one’s lives. We have to cultivate openness by making time to listen and asking questions that are more thoughtful than the pat questions. Find out about how school is going, their relationship with teachers, friends; what’s going well…and what’s not.

Invite other people that matter to your loved ones over on occasion. Friends can liven the atmosphere and make dinner memorable. And it shows that you care about their circle of influence enough to include them, too.

Discipleship of our children and grandchildren happens by our words and lifestyle. When our faith is incorporated in all we do, including family dinner, then our faith becomes more than just saying grace. It is infused in our conversations and the way we communicate.

Yours for a thriving legacy,

Jeff Rogers