Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

Everybody is home right now. One daughter is home from overseas, another from college, and basketball season is not quite in full swing. That means LOTS of talking, laughing, some quarreling and of course, eating together.

One of the strongest staples of my childhood was the family dinner table. Not only did we eat together twice a day, but it was rare for us to have a mealtime without someone….or many someones…in attendance. We learned to laugh, discuss big ideas, tell stories and honor one another by listening to every age. When I was a boy, I heard it said that no missionary or visiting preacher came to Wilmore, KY who did not eat at my parent’s table.

I thought about this as Annamarie and I walked tonight. Last night, it was just our family. We were silly and laughed until tears came. Tonight we had young friends join us around the table. They listened and joined in as we told stories, passionate and hilarious, again wiping our eyes and gasping for breath. It’s not always this way. Sometimes we quarrel and misunderstand and even hurt each other. But that is a privilege too.

Some of my favorite people (yeah, there are a lot of you!) are Kara and Brad over at Fuller Youth Institute. Check out this quote on family dinners and the article it comes from. “Teens who have infrequent family dinners AND whose families dinners are pervaded by cell phones, laptops, and video games have even higher rates of risk behavior. They are three times more likely to use tobacco and marijuana and 2.5 times more likely to use alcohol.”

If I remember right from family systems class, since the 1950s up through 2009, there has been very little research so clear on the impact of a particular family behavior. I seem to remember that a minimum of four family meals a week was key. And I know I remember that you did not have to be a blood relative to benefit from a given family system’s mealtimes.

Many, many people have been around my dinner table at some time or another. In the late 90s we estimated almost 1,000 a year. in this season of our lives, the numbers are much smaller. It’s never been fancy….lots of biscuits and gravy….and chocolate chip bars…..and pizza, but lots of love and laughter, stories and schedules, and of course, prayers. I wonder if they became family mealtime “converts”…if that was something they held onto for themselves. I hope so.

Did you….do you…have family mealtimes? What did you learn…and hold onto? What are you sharing together besides the food?