I grew up (for the first part of my life), saying a blessing at every dinner. I have fond memories of our family dinners (from when I was very little). I remember full meals, yummy desserts, nice dishes, a lovely dinning room set that we sat at. I knew that one day, that I would want to give that gift to my children.
I had a children's specialist tell me not long ago, that family meals are so important. She told me, that studies show children who have regular family meals together do well in many areas in their life. I know this to be true and I know that it is important to continue this when our children get older.
For so many reasons, family meal time is important. We get to check in with one another. We get to slow down from our busy days. We get to nourish our bodies and our souls. I really do love our time together.
We have a few things that we do every night at dinnertime and I get reminded by a certain Mr.Noah if we happen to skip one of these rituals.
First thing first, is that we set the table every night with place mats, cutlery and cups. Then when the food is served, we put on some music if it's not already playing (usually CBC radio 2 Drive or a station from Songza). Once we are all sitting, we light our beeswax candles and then say a blessing.
We have 3 blessings that are on rotation at our house.
This one we said when I was a child....
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything,
Then a personal family favourite (and a tradition on my mom's side of the family)....
Oh the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank thee Lord,
For giving me, the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the appleseeds,
Oh the Lord is good to me,
And last, a simple one....
For what we are about to receive,
May the Lord make us truly thankful,
In Jesus name,
More recently, we started adding in the question "What was your favourite part of today?"
I find that it is another nice way for us all to check in and to take note of what each family did that day. Sometimes the answers surprise me, sometimes they make sense. Sometimes as a joke, I like to speak on Katia's behalf (Noah laughs at this), and I'll say in a Katia voice, "oh I really enjoyed eating my chicken noodle soup."
I really do love our mealtime rituals and I know that the kids like them too. Like I said, I have been reminded by Noah when we miss out on something, and I too feel like something is missing when we don't follow our rituals.
For me, these little acts are just about slowing down, being present, enjoying and taking pleasure in our company and food. It's simple but so meaningful to us. It always amazes me that no matter how busy, chaotic and stressful it felt right before dinner, an instant calm comes over all of us when we sit down to eat and share together.
(salmon chowder for dinner)