Guess who’s not coming to dinner?

Wednesday is my usual day off and I occasionally cook something I know the girls will eat. Today I’m making Chicken Marsala (Sorry, Sarah) and
something I’ve begun to call ‘Stupid Potatoes’ because they’re so damn easy to make and they taste great.
I asked my wife who would be around for supper when it hit me that it’s sad I had to even ask. I believe I’ve stumbled upon a growing problem in today’s society: the family unit no longer sits down together to share a meal.
There’s soccer, basketball, track, chorus, play, band, SAT Prep and a host of other extracurricular activities that currently take presidence over sitting down at the dinner table.
We wonder why we’re not in touch with our kids sometimes when the truth of the matter is you can’t touch someone that’s been at baseball practice since after school with schoolwork to do when they come home.
There are coaches that believe Sunday mornings are an appropriate time for a scrimmage/practice (and said athlete has to be there, or else).
The subliminal lesson learned by the child: Worshipping God is no longer important.
Just learn to nail those foul shots, throw strikes, run faster, be better (you’re not good enough now!).
30 years ago, if a coach ever pulled a boneheaded move like that he’d be on the first boxcar out of town.
These days it’s all part of the game.
Our priorities (myself included) are disoriented and sadly obtuse.
I see things changing and not for the better.
We’ve dug a hole we will never be able to climb out of and for what?
And at what cost?
I’m trying hard to think of a time when I didn’t sit down and have supper with my mother, father and sister.
Supper was at 5PM.
Period.
Be there or go hungry, end of story.
Supper wasn’t served in four or five shifts like today.
What the hell happened?
There was something to be said about breaking bread together; there was interaction and a sharing of conversation, a waging of arguments, a dispersement of knowledge, the telling of jokes, zany explanations of the numerous leaves on the family tree.
I feel we’re all missing out.
By the time we actually figure out where we went wrong, our kitchens will be empty and I’ve no doubt the Burger King’s of the world will be stuffed to the grills with our kids.
So how does it end?
Maybe we just don’t want to know.
And that’s quite possibly the saddest part of all. . .
~m

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16 thoughts on “Guess who’s not coming to dinner?

  1. It is sad. I remember my parents and I sitting down to dinner most of the time though I was a typical kid and hated every minute of it. I’d give my left arm for one more family dinner like that.

    Couldn’t agree more, Carn
    I remember hating it as well. But looking back I realize I learned much about my mom and dad.
    ~m

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  2. This is probably one of the biggest reasons really connecting with my Jewish heritage has changed me so much: the family dinner. Since we don’t have the Temple anymore, the Rabbis all stated that until the Temple is rebuilt, the family dinner table is our altar to God, where we gather to worship, nourish and reconnect.

    Every Shabbat (Sabbath) at sunset, the candles are lit. Dinner is served. Leisurely, long, full of wine and seconds and talking. Most of the week, my husband and i now have dinner together – 8 pm, be there or be hungry. 😉 (We’re both night owls.) And i know that when we have children, you bet there will be a family dinner. And Shabbat every week. And NOTHING will be allowed to interfere with that.

    Because of that family time on Shabbat, a rabbi once said, “More than Israel has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept Israel.”

    🙂 Enter the warm fuzzies.

    I’ve played many Jewish functions over the years and the emphasis on ‘family’ is clearly evident.
    Here’s to keeping up the tradition of the family dinner.
    ~m

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  3. Yes, Michael, we’re running faster but we’re getting nowhere. I’m grateful my grandkids are 9 & 11, and therefore we have dinner every night together.,and weekends bring my sons and their mates. I know we’re a dying breed!
    Kids just have too much on their plates, and its not dinner. As usual, lots of food for thought!

    A Brilliant observation, Matty.
    “Kids just have too much on their plates, and its not dinner.”
    I couldn’t have said it better.
    ~m

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  4. That’s one of the reasons my husband and I didn’t sign our kids up for sports, because they take up way too much time. But I have to admit that we’re no better. The boys will sit at the table to eat, while my husband and I sit on the couch in front of the TV.

    One day, at lunch, I blew my husband and boys away by telling them to put away their laptops. You should have seen the way their jaws dropped. My husband grins at me and says, “Okay, hon. You start the conversation.”

    It’s a catch-22 for us because you know what they say about idle hands…
    I love the laptop story. Classic.
    Did you start the conversation?
    We almost don’t know each other anymore, do we?
    ~m

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  5. Ok, let me see, I was part of that every dinner and Sunday Lunch reunion thing. Imagine: rectangular (not square!) table, 4 family members. Mum at the head of the table, Dad to her right, LITTLE (!) sister to her left and BIG sister sitting alone with the other empty half of the table (or next to LITTLE sister if you so will).
    Although I get your whole point of your post (and agree), I have to insist that at least in my case, those daily dinner reunions have left a rather bitter aftertaste of being left out. I still to this day talk to windows when having a meal at a table! Whether I really wanted to be part of THEIR conversations or arguments isn’t really relevant, cause it was impossible to slide my words into any conversation while being blocked out by the two loudest family members (father and little sis) due to strategic seating disadvantage (anybody who ever went to dinner with a group and was left sitting opposite nobody knows exactly what I am talking about).
    And if I ever land myself in money troubles, I for sure will sue my parents for emotional damage causing irreprable mental damage!

    I guess what I am trying to say (even if slightly bitter sounding), anybody who wishes to bring family members back to the dinner table either buy a round one or make sure their seating arrangements includes all family members fairly! It might seem like a detail to you, it won’t to your children!

    Signed,
    Founder of the ‘Stand up and fight for your integration at the dinner table’- movement and the Head of the ‘Haven for victims of unlucky seating arrangements’foundation! 😉

    Didn’t you know that vegetables make wonderful projectiles?
    That usually gets someone’s attention even if it was just “Stop playing with your vegetables, Spaz!”
    How big was this table? Yikes.
    ~m

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  6. I was raised that dinner was served at 5PM on the dot and everyone was to be there in attendence. I suppose that was etched so hard into me brain that MY household does that every single night. Occasionally, and I say that very loosely, dinner is as late as 530. But all in all, we’re all present, at the table, and we eat together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Wow. Every single night?
    Bravo.
    I’m jealous. Keep it going. . .
    ~m

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  7. Yep, I was raised the same way. We all had dinner together. We all ate the same food. If we wanted to go anywhere afterwards, we could if our homework and chores were done (including helping do the dishes after the meal).

    Now I eat dinner at my computer. Pathetic.
    WC


    Someday take your keyboard, turn it upside down and give it a good shake.
    Does it look like someone dumped a few tablespoons of Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning in there?
    ~m

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  8. Family dinners have become something out of a movie, not something you see much in real life anymore, which is sad. It’s sad that fewer and fewer people are making family time high on the list.

    At my home, people are often running in different directions, or we’re all on the computers. Once in awhile, we each eat at a computer, and we chat online. 😛

    ~Kelsey

    “Not something you see in real life anymore…”
    Not in real life but in ‘reel’ life…
    Sad? Ayup…

    ~m

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  9. Actually do you remember the post i wrote in September about how my parent’s house seemed so much smaller than i remembered, even the Ikea sized dinner table? If you’d see it know, you’d be laughing but as a kid it seemed soo big.
    Also, I brought up the topic in my late teens one day (while still sitting in the same arrangement) and my Mother’s comment was: “Well but why didn’t you every say something, I never considered that”.
    I still sit in the same spot when I go home, but now I have my husband across the table. All good 🙂

    PS. Throwing vegetables? My Mother was further convinced that her two children might some day be invited to dine with the Queen, and such behaviour would have never been tolerated by the Queen so it wasn’t in our house 😉 .

    Have you dined with the queen yet? 😉
    I really appreciate your ‘view’ on this.
    It has opened my eyes in a way I never would have thought of.
    Thanks, SP.
    ~m

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  10. You want family dinners-SIMPLE!
    Find the balance in your life-Take control-make the effort and the time!

    You need to write a book, Laho.
    I consider you one of my smartest friends. No lie.
    I guess I just can’t seem to find the balance yet.
    Maybe the balance will come when I take the big dirt nap.
    But it’s not time for ‘Beautiful Goodbye’ just yet…
    ~m

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  11. Now that the kids are getting older, they are often gone at dinnertime, and I miss it. Ours weren’t involved in a lot of sports or extracurricular activities, so I guess I should be grateful for having them here to share dinnertime as long as I did. Parents know their kids will grow up and leave the nest, but it’s still painful when it’s happening.

    Sending good thoughts your way!

    Thanks, Marti.
    I always love hearing your ‘personal’ side of things.
    You always sound like you have it together. I’m thinking you do.
    Thanks for visiting.
    I love seeing comments from you.
    ~m

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  12. i miss things like this. gathering around a table at meal time with the family or even the extended family of friends and so on – just to share a meal. it is a pleasure we don’t partake in much any more and i think it hurts us in a very subtle way.
    sarah


    We are so busy we don’t stop to think about it very much.
    So yes, it hurts us in a very subtle way

    ~m

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  13. I was just thinking this over the weekend. We were watching a movie, and a college kid called his mom and asked if he could come for dinner. “Sure, dinner is at the same time as always.” I turned to Nick and asked “I wonder what it’s like to have dinner at the same time every day.” He didn’t know either.

    It’s amazing how time changes mealtime tradition, huh?
    ~m

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