The reason why I enjoyed reading the book is because it reminded me so much of growing up. Every night, no matter how busy our schedules were my mom always had a warm dinner on the table and we sat, just the four of us, around our dining room table, blessed the food and ate together while sharing about our days, laughing, picking on each other or discussing the plans for the week.
Dinner time has always been a very positive thing, so when Nathan and I married, it was natural for me to enjoy preparing dinner for us and for us to eat together. Granted, more often than not we spend dinner time in the living room watching our favorite shows, but we always make time either before or after to talk. (Since reading the book,this is a habit we've discussed changing, because we never want dinner time with our future children to be centered around the TV.)
If you have a full, busy family that consists of several active kids and you struggle with maintaining family time, then this book is a must read for you. However, Nathan and I have none of those things and I found some really helpful tidbits and useful information in the book as well. This being said, I think it’s a great book for anyone who’s married and/or has a family with children, tweens or teens.
Here are just a smidgen of the interesting facts/quotes that I highlighted in the book…
"Study after study shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, become overweight, and consider suicide - and the more likely they are to eat their vegetables, know which fork to use, learn big words, do well in school, feel that their parents love them, and delay having sex. And that's just for starters." (p. 19)
"When it comes to dinner, your kids are not your customers. They don't need to have their own meals. While you might think catering to their individual whims is showing love and care, it's more likely instilling a subtle attitude in your kids that says, My immediate needs take precedence over any needs of the family." (p. 40-41)The authors also spell out the differences between criticism and complaining...
"Criticism almost always begins with you. ("You always make food I don't like!") Complaining almost always with I. ("I'm disappointed that we're having green beans again.")The authors suggested instituting a "no criticism" rule at the dinner table (I love this!).
Aside from the great quotes and statistics throughout the book, there's also a slew of information on effective communication, conflict resolution, and ways to reduce stress for menu planning for those busy families. There's even an entire chapter devoted to Fix It and Freeze It Meals, complete with yummy recipes.
I'd love to hear how your family combats issues of busy schedules, picky eaters, or difficult conversations around the dinner table. I'd also be interested to know how many of you grew up eating dinner around the table, and have instilled it in your own families!
Oh, and PS: My words aren’t being compensated by anyone. I did receive a free copy of the book, but I’m not being paid to say any of these nice things about the book. I just liked it, so I thought you might too!