It’s the most important place in the house. Perhaps even the family. I don’t think it always gets its proper due, especially today, in 21st century America. The kitchen table for my wife and me is something transformative, much more than a simple piece of furniture. We are both teachers, and we both coach school sports, which makes us very busy (who’s isn’t right? That topic is for another post), more so in the fall when we both coach soccer at our respective schools. You throw in three little girls and finding time to sit down as a family for dinner can become very challenging, and it will become even more challenging as our children get bigger and older. Yet for both us we make it a point to have dinner together every night we can. All of us. Together.
A lot of problems in this world I am convinced would go away if there were more nightly family dinners. Not all problems, I am not that naive, but I do believe many in fact would. Family dinners are a great opportunity to slow down, check in and have a conversation with all the people you care about. Have you ever been in a house and found the kitchen table or dining room table just covered with stuff? Stuff that you can tell has been there for a real long while. . .I always ask myself in these situations “where do they eat?”
Every family is somewhat dysfunctional, many more than others, but in my opinion it is best to be dysfunctional while at least breaking bread together. If everyone in a family knows that each day they will be carving out time to eat dinner together a connection is formed, nurtured and maintained. The kitchen table has become the foundation our family can rely on and build on- together. Growing up my wife and I both had family dinners, both of our families also spent a lot of time around the kitchen tables between meals too.
Outside of my father, one of the most influential persons in my life was my Godfather. He passed away recently. And he loved the kitchen table- morning, noon and night John kind of set up court when he could at the kitchen table. Reading, drinking, eating and conversation. I loved times at the table with John and I will miss him and those times dearly. In fact my political outlook and mindset today is directly connected to listening to heated kitchen table conversations between my father a registered Republican and John a registered Democrat. Both were very well-informed, could debate incessantly, had major political differences and most important the dearest of friends. Imagine that? In this day in age of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. It is possible. John was a pall bearer at my father’s funeral. In one instance years ago, my younger brother, who was young at the time, approached my mom all upset stating “Mom I think dad and John are fighting in the kitchen!” Maybe the reason I am registered Independent!
Our family will always make time for each other at the kitchen table.