Monday, January 16, 2012

Family Dinners

A busy weekend can be exhausting but the boys love spending so much time with family. Once a month my family gets together for dinner. We take turns hosting and choose a different theme each time. Everyone brings a dish, potluck style, that corresponds with the theme. We take turns to share the stress of hosting. It can be a bit of an undertaking as I do have a large family and we all have busy lives. However, we take this time to enjoy one another's company and some good food. We have had fun trying dishes from different parts of the USA....Cajun, Southwest, New well as most of the world....Irish, German, Italian, Chinese, etc.

Sometimes it is an adventure trying new dishes. There have been some interesting dishes and picky eaters and children have thankfully been brave enough to try SOME of these dishes. Our latest one was this weekend and we did tacos. We've been doing this for a few years and have never had tacos. There were fish and chicken tacos, corn and flour tortillas, multiple types of salsa, taco soup and chorizo queso dip, and even dessert nachos. We were stuffed by the end!

While trying new foods is fun, we really get together to catch up on our busy lives and, sometimes, celebrate a birthday. With so many of us there is a birthday or two every month. Of course, the young kids still get a separate birthday party. At these dinners we learn about each others successes and struggles. We are there to listen and ,sometimes, give advice. Stories, ideas and laughter are all shared. The men usually end up around some piece of technology to discuss it. Yesterday, it was the video games. Male bonding!

As I talk to people I find that our family gatherings seem to be a rarity. Many of my friends and acquaintances only see their family every few months or strictly on holidays. Many of my students don't even have dinner with their immediate family on a regular basis. The first time I asked this of my students I was shocked at the very few that has dinner with their parents on a regular basis. I then asked them how and when they communicated with them. Many of them answered with.."we just don't". Yikes! I have challenged my students to try have dinner with their family even it it's just once a week. Some have taken me up on this but most don't. Once a student told me that they tried but their parents thought it was too difficult to try and schedule that time. WHAT?!

Dinner is the seat of conversation, but is seems to be a lost art these days. Growing up we were required to be at dinner. Friends were welcome to join us but we had to be there. With a family of 5 kids my parents made it happen. Even when we were all busy involved teenagers. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but get together with your family and talk. Our dinners aren't always serious heartfelt conversations but we are getting to know about each other and what is going on in our lives. Sometimes it's just nice to share what we know or have been going through.

Everyone tells me that they like the idea of our family dinners and/or are jealous. Well, it takes initiative. Call your family up and ask them over. Each of us has to take that initiative and volunteer each month, but it is something we feel is important and we enjoy doing....even with our insane schedules.

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