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The Many Benefits of Eating Together As a Family

Up to a couple of decades ago families always had Sundays to reunite, catch up and reload.

Sunday was the day to spend time together, eat together, relax and watch favorite shows together. This was the time before mobile devices and multi TVs in each of our homes.

The balance of the week was crammed with work and chores for adults and school and extra-curricular activities for the children. I remember Saturdays were shopping and errand days. My many memories of our Sundays are how we spent the day experiencing music together. I remember Dad taking one of us on his motorcycle for a ride or driving the family-full car from one relative to another.

One of the defining factors for me which represented the end of the weekend was the TV show “Tiny Talent Time”, which aired at 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon.

Those days were full of wonderful times and the Sundays consisting of time with family and great friends –
and eating together.

eating together as a family
Eating Together

Sundays Are No Longer for Rest

I think a major change which changed the landscape of these experiences was the introduction of Sunday shopping. Once Sunday shopping replaced family church time for many people, it offered the public the opportunity to spend Sundays running around stores in search of fulfilling our consumer experience. The word “consumer” is not a sexy word for shopping. From a small age since the 1980s “Greed Is Good” mentality, we are taught to respond to big business advertising and to consume,  consume and consume. And not only on Valentine’s, Halloween, or Christmas, but every single day, including Sunday.

I believe initiating Sunday shopping has torn and shredded the fabric of the family experience.

Without it we would collectively experience more time together and as Jack Nicholson stated in the movie ‘As Good As It Gets’, “We all experience great times as kids. There were always those times we had trips to the lake. Days that included good times and noodle salad. Yes, good times and noodle salad”.

Movie Night every Sunday
Movie Night every Sunday

Over the past two generations the ability to buy food or anything else at any time of any day has cheated us  of the chance to take the rest day our bodies and minds need. When is the last time you spent a whole day or even half a day just lazing around, playing games or had a movie night?

What you can do to help yourself and your family

1) Stay In On Sunday – Stay In Touch with Each Other

Try a Sunday without any shopping. Oh, and maybe even leave the cell phone in the bedroom for the day. It may be difficult to do this cold turkey, but even a few hours spent mobile device and shopping free will rejuvenate your own and your family’s emotional health.

2) If you have small children, make a good example before restricting their electronics use. Start with a couple of hours on a Sunday when you all share a home-made pancake at your kitchen table and be prepared for some discomfort – your own and your family’s.

Bring Out the Joy of Reading
Bring Out the Joy of Reading

Visualise your three-year-old enjoying his passion for books growing into relishing spending time reading to himself as he grows older.

3) Go for a short or long walk in nature – either alone or together with your family, enjoy the here and now, and leave your Action and To-Do-Lists for the other six days of the week.

Enjoy Everything Around You
Enjoy Everything Around You

4) Take it slow one weekend at a time, and build it up; the ingrained habits shared by millions of people throughout the Western world will not be easy to change or adjust, but it will be so worth it over the short and the long term.

Talk To Each Other Over Food
Together, Sharing Food

Imagine your tween or teenage daughter sharing (even if grudgingly at first) about what her week has been like.

Family BBQ
Family BBQ

5) If you have no choice but to work on Sunday, change your rest day and even arrange for one family evening together.

The number one regret expressed on people’s death bed is “I wish we had more time to spend together.” Do not live a life which may have you think or say this one day.

Keep Life Sweet and Golden
Keep Life Sweet and Golden

Keep life sweet.

Take the time now. While you have it!

Pack the cars with family and friends and head to that lake. Oh, and be sure you remember the noodle salad.

God Bless,

Tom Herstad

Author of Love, Care and Share

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