One of the things I remember most from when I was younger were the meals I shared with family and friends at the table. Sunday family morning breakfasts, celebratory birthday cake lunches with friends, and holiday dinners - every one of them were centered around our huge wooden table. If I close my eyes, I can literally picture exactly where my mother, father, brother and myself each sat, the exact dishes we were using, and feel our old chairs underneath me.
At the time I may not have appreciated it as much - but that table was the heart of my family's home. It's where I unloaded my backpack and started on homework after school, where we had our family meetings, and played countless hours of Guillotine until someones competitive side got too hot *cough mom couch*. Its where my family gathered around each year as we hosted Thanksgiving for all of our family in friends, and even had to bring in reinforcements of more tables for the abundance of guests we invited to celebrate and share time with.
Our dinners were not always perfect - in fact they rarely were. Most likely, my brother was being a butthead and picking on me, or my parents were making me eat some food that I just knew would kill me if I tried and life as I knew it was over. Yes, we had some great laughs and shared a lot of love over a lot of meals, but we had our heated conversations, arguments, awkward and heavy silences too, and thats ok. It wasn't about the topic of conversation, it was about sharing time with people we loved most, even if we didn't like them at the time.
Sadly, with the rise of technology, family dinnertime around the table is not happening as much as I know it used to. Families are eating in separate rooms, or in the living room, and dinnertime is becoming less about spending quality time together and dinner tables are looking more like a drive through window. And it's sad.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally guilty of it, too. Before the Hubs and I had H, we just sat on our couch in the living room watching TV, barely even carrying on a conversation because it was easier to zone out on our phones and whatever show or movie we were watching. However, once H was born and I was feeling like a functioning human again, I had a really serious conversation with him about us making dinnertime at the table a priority for our family. He agreed with my ideas, a deal was struck, and a tradition was created.
It hasn't always been easy, especially at first when H was younger since he was going to bed at 6 and Hubs wasn't home from work until 5:30 pm, so it felt very chaotic. Currently, he goes to bed at 6:30 pm, but Hubs leaves for work at 5:40 pm, so that means most nights dinner is at 5:00 pm, which is still really weird for me to get used to, but we make it work because it's important to us, and right now we can. And because I want H to have the same fond memories that I do when he thinks back on his years at home. And because I want him to want the same for his future children so that I can have a small part in preserving family meals.
There are so many scientifically proven social and health benefits to eating together as a family - whatever that may look like to you - that this country needs. The video below highlights some of the significant benefits of people who regularly eat together including lower obesity levels, lower substance abuse rates, more positive relationships, and happier and more secure children. Because of this, I'm partnering with DinnerCall for their #billiondinners challenge, and I want you to join in too!
All you have to do is take the "10 in 2" challenge.
It's simple: sit down to 10 family meals in the next two weeks. In just 10 meals, "you'll begin to see a difference. In just 10 meals, dinner time will be something your family will start looking forward to every night." As I mentioned before, family dinners are hardly perfect, and that is not what this Billion Family Dinners Challenge is about. We know getting everyone together is often easier said than done, however as you begin to sit down with your friends and family more often, I know you'll notice a difference - we do. Not a Julia Childs reincarnate? Thats ok too! More important than the food you're eating is that you're sharing quality time with another person, unplugged - without the distraction of cell phones or TV.
Tweet: I'm joining with @MuchMostDarling in tracking 10 Family Dinners in 2 weeks, to take the @dinnercall #billiondinners challenge today!
That's a family dinner, and that's something to treasure.
Getting started is super easy! Just download the DinnerCall app from iTunes or Google Play and the app will guide you the rest of the way:
Remember to track and share everything through the DinnerCall app in order to participate! That's how dinners will be added to the total (which you can keep tabs on at billiondinners.org), and is the best way to help spread the movement and get others involved in order to make people eating meals together more of a priority!
Don't get discouraged by the family dinner aspect! For this purpose, "Family" is defined as two or more people (friend, neighbor, roommate, etc meals count too!) sharing a meal while fully present - meaning no cell phones and "Dinner" is any meal: breakfasts, a snack, brunch, a quick cupcake catchup, lunch, or anything in between!
So, are you going to join in on the Billion Family Dinners Challenge with DinnerCall?
Why or why not?
Let me know below!
This post is sponsored by DinnerCall, but all words and opinions are my own.