Gathering together to enjoy a meal is a powerful pastime. It brings people closer, allowing us to pause from busyness and share stories or solve problems as a family. If not for Family Mealtime how would we know that a classmate at school can burp the entire alphabet? If we didn’t eat dinner together we’d never know about the time our seven-year-old’s class put a whoopee cushion on the music teacher’s chair. I still don’t know who broke my hairband, but we did find out who keeps forgetting to flush. But most importantly, how would we teach the boys about passive aggression?
Allow me to explain.
After a lovely meal that everyone enjoyed (as always) and praised their doting mother (me) for cooking from scratch, the light-hearted banter transitioned into Family Devotion time. It began with a simple question: How can we show God we love Him? and the answers were as follows (I wrote them down as soon as I could for the sake of accuracy).
What’s for dessert?
We’re having Halloween treats, remember?
Let me try that again, “How can we show God we love Him?”
By not saying “shut up or stupid”.
By not hitting.
Asking before you take someone’s Lego that they were only putting down for a minute to go use the washroom.
This line of response was deteriorating quickly into a laundry list of sibling infractions – they started throwing everyone under the bus.
Stop waking up so early.
Not arguing about sleeping later.
Not arguing about having no clock in your room. Ahem.
Not whining about taking off your shoes by yourself. (that was mine, I confess)
Not poking people.
Not peeking at your birthday presents.
Not breaking toys and then they are broke.
They were volleying their thinly veiled digs back and forth at a rapid pace. I tried to change the tone of responses and frame it more positively.
Maybe say ‘sorry’ if you break something?
Yeah, and not staring at people when we’re at the table.
Keeping your feet off someone else’s leg. (that was Bearded Husband, he really likes his personal space)
Not pitching a fit when it’s time to get in the van. (me again)
me someone else empty the top rack of the dishwasher instead of always calling it first because it has less dishes.
Or how about not always taking the seat closest to the TV every time?
I’m sure God appreciated the many specific examples we generated. And that we followed it up by holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” like we do every mealtime. Scouts honour.