Thought for the Week from Karla’s Korner: Time at the Dinner Table

Thought for the Week from Karla’s Korner

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Time at the Dinner Table…..

As I sit down to write I am surrounded by memories and mementos from my life as a child.  My grandmother passed away in 1999 and left me her dining room furniture and china.  I have a desk set up in the spare bedroom in the basement of our home, but I prefer to sit at the dining room table to write and prepare lesson plans.  The dining room table, while not fancy or extravagant in any way, brings me a sense of peace and comfort that belongs to only me.  As a young girl back in 1976 (I believe) I remember my grandmother showing off her new furniture and china and telling me that someday it would belong to me.  Naturally at that age I thought my grandma would live forever; she did not.  Ironically, I do not remember ever eating a meal at that table, because most of our family gatherings were at our house or that of my aunts and uncles.  It seemed easier for my grandparents to come to us than for us to come to them for holidays and family celebrations.  Even though we never spent a lot of time around that table, we did spend a lot of time together as a family at other dinner tables; something that does not seem as important these days.

When my husband brought the furniture home after my grandma passed away it was as if I was afraid to use it.  Somehow in my mind I was supposed to keep it as she did.  Our house did not have an eat in kitchen which meant if I wanted my grandma’s table in the dining room we HAD to eat off of it.  We had to sit in her chairs and eat on her table.  With young children at the time, I found it quite difficult to prevent messes at the table.  Eventually I decided that messes were going to happen and that the table was no longer hers but mine and I had to stop worrying about it so much.  Now, I use the table as my writing desk and find that sitting here with her picture on the china hutch behind me I somehow stay connected through memories of our time together.  The table is a reminder of her which brings me great joy.

In my current home we have a bar area in our kitchen where most of our meals take place.  Sitting at the counter and eating our meals seem more efficient for than dragging everything into the dining room to eat; until now that is.  For the past few months my daughter and her girlfriend have been coming home from school for Sunday dinner and our family has been gathering around the dinner table to eat and share the experiences of the past week.  At first it was more for the fact that when they are here we do not have enough bar stools in the kitchen to eat so we had to move into the dining room.  But somehow that idea has taken a backseat to the idea that our family time at the dinner table has become a very important element in our lives.  Before they arrive on Sunday afternoon I rid the table of my computer and all that has accumulated throughout the week and set the table.  It is important I think to have all of my clutter put away so that nothing gets in the way of our time at the table.  Last week the girls were on Spring Break and did not come home for Sunday dinner; I missed that so much.

As a preschool teacher I find myself working on meal time etiquette a lot.  One of the most difficult tasks, it seems, for small children is to sit at the table and eat without getting up and down.  Quite often when I share this with parents they tell me that they do not insist that their child sit at the table.  It is easier for the parents, they say, for the child to come and go rather than fight with them to sit at the table.  Furthering our discussion I share with parents that by the time their child reaches kindergarten they will be required to remain seated not only during lunch but also during class time as well.  What I really want to tell them is that they are missing out on a great opportunity to connect as a family at the dinner table.  Recently after having had this conversation with a parent in my classroom, the parent shared with me that they had been enforcing the stay at the table to eat rule and it is working beautifully and that they were actually have fun at meal times.  As a matter of fact, they are realizing that their child has learned quite a bit of “stuff” this year because they are sitting down together as a family and talking at dinner time.

Time is a precious commodity and we find ourselves trying to cram dinner in between school, work, sport practices, scouts or whatever it is that takes our attention.  We need to stop and make a conscious decision to gather around the dinner table at least a few nights a week to ensure that we are connecting with our family.  With one child now not living at home full time and one who will be graduating from high school in a few short years I realize now more than ever that time spent together is priceless.  All too often parents carve out time for date nights with each other hiring a baby sitter and enjoying time alone together without their children, I suggest carving out time and having family night at home without the distractions of everyday life.  Making family time important will not only allow you to connect with one another but will also give you the opportunity to communicate with one another and allow you to really know and grow your relationships with one another.  Time spent together is more of a gift to one another than the material gifts we give to one another.  There are very few material gifts that I remember as a child, but there are lots of great memories tucked away in my heart from those special times when family was gathered together to enjoy a meal and celebrate one another.
Life is precious.  Family is precious.  Time is precious.  Take time to enjoy all three; trust me you will be glad you did.


Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles for more thought for the week here. Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Topic: Thought for the Week

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