Family Relationships, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Relationship

Eat: A Time to Connect

Prayerful hands

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EAT. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

EAT

Last night, I listened to a psychologist speak on youth issues. Focusing on suicide. I know, sounds depressing, right?

One of the things he shared that surprised me most was how important it is for youths to stay connected to their families, and how one of the best ways to encourage this is by eating supper as a family.

It’s something hubs and I have been intentional about with our boys. The older they grow, the more challenging it is to eat supper all four of us. One boy has football a few nights a week. There are drum lessons, Boy Scouts, youth group.

So many activities—many of them good—that are a draw away from our family time.

Can I be honest? I love eating with my family. The fellowship, the laughter, the thoughts our boy-men are sharing make me smile.

Big.

family-table

 

We share things we’re thankful for about each day (yes, sometimes I have to pull a few molars to get the three gifts in their days), but it’s worth it. What often happens is, in the course of thinking about the gifts and the happenings of the day, memories surface.

Good times with friends. Struggles in the classes they’re taking. Who won the football game at recess.

Connecting.

Jesus focused on eating with His disciples as He trained them. They fellowshipped, learned lessons through His words. They grew in their relationships with Jesus and with each other.

Eating a meal is a natural place to slow down, to connect with those we care about most. 

Thanksgiving Breakfast table

 

Yes, it can be done quickly, in the middle of completing other tasks. But food digests best when it’s accompanied by sitting and enjoying others. And we find the greatest refreshing when we share a meal with others.

Funny how God created eating to be good for our bodies and for our spirits.

What about you? How do you connect with others in your life? What are favorite memories of eating with your families when you were growing up?

Click to Tweet: Eating a meal is a natural place to slow down, to connect

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Eat.

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26 thoughts on “Eat: A Time to Connect”

  1. Hi Jeanne, beautiful post and table! I love dinners where we’re all gathered together. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen, but so grateful when it does. Hoping for more of those times.

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  2. Eating made my mind go to the idea of connection too. I have many ️sweet memories of my mom fixing us abundant dinners as kids. So much good food and from scratch largely. I am so blessed that my parents made meal time a priority. And like U said it was ‘natural’.

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    1. Somer, you are blessed to have parents who did (and still do) make meal time a priority. It’s a dying thing in this busy age we live in! We have to be intentional, don’t we? I loved what you shared in your post today. 🙂

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  3. Beautiful writing here, Jeanne.

    When I was growing up, family meals were something to be avoided at all costs. They were dreadful. I’d take some biltong, a canteen, a book – and a .45 automatic, in case I was disturbed – and go hide out to eat, from the age of 10 or 11 onward.

    Makes it hard to break bread with anyone, even now.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/10/your-dying-spouse-225-not-worth-keeping.html

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    1. Andrew, I suspected as much, based on what you’ve shared. I’m sorry mealtime was not a pleasant time for you. The book . . . that sounds like my boys. Reading every chance they get, including during mealtimes, when they can get away with it. 🙂 At least there is one Companion who always shares a meal with you. And with Him, you don’t even need to talk. 🙂

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  4. So many things happen around the table, don’t they? Jesus invited himself to share a meal together on many occasions, and of course there is the last supper. The ritual of sharing a meal together evokes safety and comfort, something children so need, I believe, (and adults too as I love to have share a meal together with my friends as well as at the end of a bible study course–it bonds us further for sure).

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    1. Yes, Lynn. So many things happen during shared meals. I forgot how many times Jesus invited himself/was invited to break bread with others. Your words reminded me of when Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house, and spoke truth to the man about his judgmental heart. And the time when he was anointed with the costly oil. And when he invited himself to Levi the tax collector’s house. He always knew how to minister to those he fellowshipped with. With blunt truth, or kind acceptance. We can be that safe and comforting place to those who come to our tables too.

      I’m with you. I soooo enjoy sharing meals with friends, and with extended family.

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  5. There is just something holy about breaking bread together and lingering over a meal! Now I know –or at least, I remember– that is not always an accurate picture of what ‘family dinner’ looks like… oh but the work it does beneath the surface is deep and true and good –even if it is rushed and inhaled and over before you know it… it’s the act of slowing and sitting together that recenters and revives us! Love this post, my friend! (And now I will plan a meal and invite people over because, well– empty nesters, here and we miss the chaos and the juggling schedules to all sit down together!)

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    1. True, Karrilee! Some of our family meals don’t feel holy. They slip into a “Please chew with your mouth closed/don’t talk with food in your mouth/elbow off the table!” mode. We’re trying to make mealtime enjoyable for the boys. You remind me that they won’t always be here to eat with us. I want their memories to be good, not negative of our shared meal times. 🙂

      I hope you do invite friends over and enjoy shared companionship!

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  6. i love this comment : Eating a meal is a natural place to slow down, to connect with those we care about most.
    It was true when our kids were growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s and it is truer now between time crunches and all our media.

    i talked a little about this today at #51 but from a different perspective for sure! blessings jeanne:)

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    1. Hi Martha! I think it’s harder, and yet more crucial (if it can be such) for families to eat together today. So many activities and things try to separate family members from each other. We are trying to be intentional about instilling the importance of eating together into the fabric of our family.

      Looking forward to reading your post. 🙂

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  7. Eating together as a family has always been important to me. My mother almost always had dinner ready at 6pm and our family of six would gather together at our kitchen table and enjoy our meal. I never realized how that would impact me as we raised our own children. Dinner together was one of the things I made happen as often as I could when our children were young. I see today (as they’re grown) that’s just as important to them. Thanks for sharing this great post, Jeanne! Love it.

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    1. I love that you are carrying on the traditions your mom shared with you. And that your children are giving that gift of time to their children. We can’t eat together every night, especially when my youngest’s football season is going on, but we do our best to as many nights as possible. Hopefully one day our boys will “get it,” and pass this on to their children. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie!

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  8. Connecting with others is a gift. God created us to be in relationship with one another. Suicide is so hard. One of my college friends committed suicide. I remember us thinking we could have done more for him. I’m in the 42 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, I’m so sorry you walked the road of the aftermath of a friend’s suicide. It had to have been so painful. I’m thinking genuine relationship with others helps (not as a cure-all, but as a help) our emotional well-being. I know a lot of other things go into a person’s decision to end their lives, but being in relationship with people around us is good for our mental well-being.

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    1. Lisa, it’s soooo hard to slow down during meals. If your kids are like mine, their food can be inhaled in about three minutes flat. We’re trying to teach them the importance of chewing more, but also the value of connecting. It’s hard for so many reasons. May we both find ways to slow down our mealtimes and connect consistently. 🙂

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  9. Thank you, Jeanne, for such a beautiful reminder of the importance of making family meals important! I stopped by from Five Minute Friday and I’m so glad I did! I needed this reminder today. As the number of kids living under my roof shrinks, family meals are more of a challenge, but so worth pressing through with tasty meals that entice my kiddos home from their busy schedules and to the table. I am re-inspired! Thank you!

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    1. Shauna, it’s got to be such a transition as your children leave the nest, eh? I’m seeing this year (with my oldest in 8th grade) how challenging it can be getting the whole family around the dinner table. I can imagine that only intensifies as they grow older and become more involved in school and extra-curricular activities. Those of you who are a few steps ahead of me encourage me to keep at it, even on those nights when the mealtime conversation is less than connecting. 🙂

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  10. Jeanne,
    well, one, I wish I could be in Colorado and dine with your family and mine together! My 3 girls would rival your boys for those rowdy moments, ha! 🙂
    I am thankful we did have family meals, even in high school when we were all in sports and activities. My parents had a 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th grader at the same time (my 8th grade brother was a bonus from God). Time together was time well spent. We do “happy/sad” at mealtime. The girls often have two or three “happies” and “zero sads”. (even if they had just had a disciplinary moment between hometime and dinnertime-that doesn’t affect their overall day!)
    Miss you!
    -Tammy
    (I was at a teacher conference Thursday and Friday and missed it all, but I did eat a lot of great food!)

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    1. Oh, Tammy, I’d love that! I’m certain, between our five kids, there would always be conversation surrounding us!

      We did something similar to “Happy/Sad” when our boys were younger. It was such an insightful time of the day for us too. I love that you can get a solid gauge on where your girls are at around the supper table. 🙂

      Miss you too, friend!

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    1. Anita, it doesn’t surprise me that children who eat more meals as a family are more successful in school. There’s something about knowing home is a safe place that instills at least some confidence in kids for their schooling. 🙂

      Thanks for stoppng by, friend!

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