“What’s Wrong With Making Meal Time a Joyous Occasion?” (Snoopy)

I am in the process of changing the name of my blog, using the scripture from Isaiah 66 12:

“For thus saith the Lord , Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. “

The Savior’s peace is the ultimate reward for faithful disciples, and He offers it to us freely. As we follow the Savior and teach His principles to our children and trust in Him, we can have His peace. When we parent using eternal principles, we can feel more peaceful in this world. I want to especially focus on the inner qualities we can help develop in our children. My last two steps are changing the website address from fiercemormonmother.com to peacelikeariver.net and update the site itself. Thank you for your patience–I am trying to honor President Nelson’s request with all of my heart:)

I am always amazed that I can find memories of my childhood on Youtube. The above video is a throwback in animation as well. But why aren’t we dancing like Snoopy is about “suppertime”?

Too busy

Too tired by the end of the day

Too overwhelmed to cook

Kids are picky eaters and don’t appreciate our efforts

It’s easier to go through a cheap, fast food drive thru than grocery shop with kids.

Toobusytoobusytoobusy…

I recently gave the lesson at a midweek Relief Society activity on “The Importance of Dinner”. I thought I would go over some of the highlights here.

I wanted to teach the why of family dinner–when we have an idea of how critical it is, we can make it work. We all know it’s important—studies have shown that lowering obesity rates, drug use and promiscuity  in your children, is all linked to having regular family dinner. Why is it so hard to do?

It’s all about your time, energy and focus.

I have posted about the book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”,  by Greg McKeown here:

https://fiercemormonmother.com/2018/07/12/eliminating-the-nonessential-less-but-better/

Dinner, I believe, falls into one of those essential categories that makes a humongous difference to your child.  You are listening and focusing on them. You are connecting with them. You  are using a celestial mindset,  which I posted about here,

https://fiercemormonmother.com/2018/07/23/essentialism-ii-through-a-gospel-lense/

Those simple family rituals like family prayer, scripture study, and family dinner are essential.

I like the idea of combining all three at the same time. One sister said, during my lesson,  that her family would kneel around the dinner table every night for family prayer. Doesn’t that sound lovely? You can do it! I want you to rediscover the rich rewards of having family dinner consistently. Here are some reasons why:

  • Dr. Marshal Duke, at Emory University in Atalanta, found that the single most predictor of resilience in a child is how much of their family’s history they know. Where did their parents meet, where did their grandparents come from, their own birth story—makes them what Dr. Duke calls, an “intergenerational child”. They know they can overcome challenges, because their parents and grandparents did. These family stories can be told at dinner. Here is the link of his 20 questions to ask and teach your children.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-stories-our-lives/201611/the-do-you-know-20-questions-about-family-stories

  • Dr Martin Seligman, the Father of positive psychology, teaches the “what went well” exercise. Ask your children “what went well” that day, so you can teach them how to focus on the positive aspects of their day. Jerry Seinfeld, ever the entertainer, says at their family dinners, it’s a rollercoaster. “First we went to the park,” Yay” everyone shouts, but then it rained. “Ooooohhhh” everyone chimes in sympathetically. They each go through their days with cheering on the good parts or  having empathy on the bad parts.
  • Character strengths can be highlighted during dinner. When a child tells a discouraging story, you can say for example, “I am sorry those kids were mean to that first grader. I am glad you stepped in and defended him. That shows courage!”

I brought a whole chart of character strengths for my lesson that you can talk about during dinner. And I also like trustworthiness, patience and frugality, among others. You don’t have to be limited to this list.

https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Reports-Courses-        Resources/Resources/Character-Strength-Fact-Sheets

Focusing on character strengths  is developing those inner qualities in your children  that aren’t being focused on as much these days—Stephen R. Covey talks about the Personality Ethic vs. The Character Ethic. For hundreds of years  your character was the most important aspect of your life. It was much more important than being charming or suave. More on that later…

  • Eating out can be fattening.”The data, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in May 2013, involved analyzing 157 full meals (including side dishes) from 33 randomly selected restaurants within 15 miles of downtown Boston. On average the meals contained a whopping 1,327 calories. Italian meals were among the worse with 1,755 calories, American ones 1,494, and Chinese 1,474. Vietnamese meals were lowest with 922 calories and Japanese with 1,027 calories.”
  • If you really focus and commit, and try to eat at home more, just that savings, thrown against your mortgage can shave years off of it. From dave ramsey.com:

“Applying your $100 a month (from eating out) to your mortgage will also save you more than $28,000 in interest.”

  • Other sisters brought up good points— grocery shopping at Walmart , where they gather your groceries and you just drive up and they load your car, can ease the work of home cooking.  Teaching children how to cook, set the table and cleanup is excellent training.

When my children were at home, my goal  was having family dinner 4 times a week, where we sat down and talked, rather than frozen pizza on the run. With Sunday dinner and Monday Family Home Evening, I was halfway to my goal!

Finishing up I said, “We once brought a property and the yard was in terrible shape. We looked into putting down sod as a quick fix but it was super expensive. So we put down metal stakes, and wrapped yellow  caution tape around each stake, creating a barrier, so people wouldn’t walk on the new little  grass seed we threw down. Then we watered and watered.” I said, ” You don’t have that sweet young grass for very long. Those family dinner times are such an opportunity to connect to your children everyday.”  I told the sisters, that we  need to look at our days, exclude non-essential activities and  guard these simple family rituals with our lives. Think of the caution tape wrapped around our family dinners. As we  focus on doing this essential activity, we can figure out how to do meals ahead of time, shop in an easier way and make it work!”

Guard Your Family Rituals!!!!

I loved that in the above video, Snoopy had a candelabra with his dog food:)

Next post–Things I forgot to say in my lesson about dinner–or ran out of time:

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