The Power of Family Meals #2

Have you ever looked at old photos of yourself as a baby and absolutely not recall the moment even though you were the central character?

Have you ever been asked things about your past as a child and absolutely not remember?

We only can recall small moments from our childhood that effected us in someway. Our memory blossoms as our brains start to mature. The child’s brain is continuously firing off millions of neurons learning about their world, but the memory part of their brains is still just a baby. We don’t really begin to recall things until we are teenagers and sometimes not even then.

So all those big expensive birthday parties, all those vacations, all those visits to amusement parks or pee-wee sports teams. Do they matter? The answer is yes and no. Time and effort building love and bonds together is what truly matters most. The expensive parties…not so much.

In childhood many of the fondest and stable memories come from the consistent routines that are repeated over and over. Such as suppertime together, bedtime rituals, holiday traditions, religious attendance, visits with grandparents, etc. These are often the things that can be recalled the most, unless a moment felt traumatic or frightening.

One of my favorite thoughts that sits comfortably in my philosophy for living goes like this:

You will not remember what was said.

You will not remember what was done.

But you will remember how you felt.

Childhood is about an accumulation of moments that will not be completely remembered from their memory. But it is recorded in the heart and mind in creating a human. The child will accumulate “feels,” until they are old enough to place moments with those pleasures or challenges.

This is why suppertime has potential to be one of the fondest memories of your child’s life and your collective family “feel” time.



deliciousness right under our noses

You looked on Pinterest for that salmon rub. The potatoes are baked to the exact crispness with just a drizzle of Olive Oil and sea salt. The salad is tossed and the table is set. You are tired, but you’ve taken the effort and made your family a yummy dinner. But husband can’t be there, the teenagers have games or practice or homework buddies or…, the tweens are playing that video game they hate to leave, the baby is crying. Why do we even try to do this dinner thing…when it gets harder and harder…

Humor me by reading the quote:

“What if I told you that there was a magic bullet–something that would improve the quality of your daily life,  your children’s chances of success in the world, your family’s health, our values as a society? Something that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and within the reach of pretty much everyone?

“Then, after you had me committed to the Asylum for the Incurable Optimistic, you might come and visit me from time to time. And while you were there, if you were lucky, I would invite you to join me and my fellow inmates for supper….

…research that’s been accumulating from very, very disparate fields..shows how eating ordinary, average everyday supper with your family is strongly linked to lower incidence of bad outcomes such as teenage drug and alcohol use, and to good qualities like emotional stability. It correlates with kindergartners being better prepared to learn to read. Regular family supper helps keep asthmatic kids out of hospitals. It discourages both obesity and eating disorders. It supports your staying more connected to your extended family, your ethnic heritage, your community of faith. It will help children and families to be more resilient, reacting positively to those curves and arrows that life throw our way, It will certainly keep you better nourished. The things we are likely to discuss at the supper table anchor our children more firmly in the world. …eating together teaches manners both trivial and momentous, putting you in touch with the deeper springs of human relations.

When families prepare meals together, kids learn real-life skills. They assume responsibilities, become better team members. Sharing family meals helps cement family relationships, no matter how you define family” (Weinstein. pg. 1-2).

Weinstein. M. (2005). The Surprising  Power of the Family Meals. How eating Together Makes us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier. Hanover, New Hampshire: Steerforth Press.

It may seem too hard. But insisting on having family supper together, no matter what your dinner is like, is not such a little thing after all. Hold strong it is accumulate and worth every moment.

Here is a few more tasty morsels from her introduction:

“I know that young children will wander away from the table, and that family life is never smooth, and that life itself is full, not only of charm and warmth and comfort, but of sorrow and tears. But whether we are happy or sad, we must be fed. Both happy and sad people can be cheered up by a nice meal. ”    Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking

More to come…