My family always ate dinner together at the table. We would spend the time away from our phones and with the television turned off. We were forced to have genuine conversations and enjoy each other’s company. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I started spending time at friends’ houses. I remember one particular childhood friend’s parents would cook her dinner first, she would eat it alone (or with me if I was there) in front of the television, and then her parents would cook their own separate meal later. This happened even when she didn’t have friends over. She was an only child and I remember thinking about how lonely she must feel.
Fast-forward to this week. My husband, brother, and I had dinner at my mom’s house a few days ago. We all sat down at the table and there was a moment when I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s so quiet. Oh, it must be because the television isn’t on. What are we supposed to do now?” The moment passed and then we spent the next hour sitting there enjoying food, laughter, and each other’s company. That was my “aha” moment, when I realized that my husband and I were spending our dinners together, but in front of our phones and television. There wouldn’t be silence, but there also wouldn’t be much conversation either.
After visiting with my mom, we (my husband and I) had a conversation about our current dining habits. We agreed that changes needed to be made and we decided that a reasonable goal for us would be to eat dinner together at the table at least five times a week.
Two nights ago we took the time to cook together and my brother was able to sit down to eat with us. We ended up spending the next three hours talking, laughing, and playing music together. It was nice to have that quality time with the people that I love. With our busy schedules, it doesn’t happen often these days.
It’s about the quality of time, not the quantity. Like many others, evenings might be the only time that you can spend with your loved ones. Instead of spending it with your face in your phone or glued to the television screen, take the hour to actually talk with those around you. Whether that means discussing how your day went, talking about what you have planned for the upcoming week, or re-evaluating your goals, it is time well-spent.
Cherish your loved ones and the time that you have together. Changing your dinner habits is a great start to healthier relationships and more meaningful conversations.