Friday, May 23, 2014

mama bird: family dinner

My parents are amazing role models, just like I hope to be for our kids. They aren't perfect, but I would neither want nor expect them to be. OK, maybe at 7 I both thought they were and expected them to be perfect...but we all know that no parent can be or will be perfect. But they raised five pretty amazing girls (if I do say so myself), while maintaining a happy and healthy marriage (going on 47 years).

One of the things that I both loved (pre-teen), and didn't love (sulky teenage years) were family dinners. It is a tradition that I proudly carry on with our kids. And by family dinners, I mean sitting at the table, saying a prayer, eating together, no TV, and talking about how our days were. We do this every single week night, and most weekends, too.

I brought Eva to her annual doctor's appointment last week, and her doctor asked if we had family meals. She then brought up what I thought was a very good point.
~ If you start family meals young and sit around the dinner table talking about your kids' lives, when they hit those teenage years where they normally don't want to share anything with you, they will be so used to answering your questions that they won't think you are prying, they will just think you are asking like every other night for the past 12 years.
I loved this point, and it really resonated with me. I want my kids to be able to be open and honest with me as they grow up. Granted, I might not like every open and honest thing that I hear, but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear it.
So for now, we sit around the table and ask the same questions every night.
~ What did you learn today?
~ Who did you play with at school?
~ What was the best part of our day?
~ Did anything bother you today at school?

and then we either play our family dinner questions game or we each make up a question that normally is something like:
~ If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be? (eagle)
~ If you could have any wish, what would it be? (more wishes)
~ What is your favorite family tradition? (Our annual trip to Northern Minnesota)
And that's how our dinner goes. Regardless of how mad Eva gets when I make her eat her mushrooms.
megan bird


  1. I'll take her mushrooms, especially if they are morels!
    What a great idea for a family question game, and the doctor was right, they will keep talking to you. Even at nearly 24, my daughter tells me everything... and laughs if I cringe. Dunno WHERE she got that.

  2. My husband and me had dinner at the dining table it was so nice. Normal we watch tv and eat dinner.

  3. We do the same thing. Even on nights when the kids are busy and don't get home until late. We sit down at 8 if we have to and eat together. It's a must for us! I think I need that box of family questions!

  4. Growing up my family always had dinner together every night as well. The dinner questions game sounds like fun and a great way to get the kids talking!

    The Tiny Heart

  5. Family dinner is so important! I grew up with that tradition too and I look forward to sharing the same traditions with Oliver!

  6. Uhrgh, I'm with Eva in the mushrooms!!! Nasty, horrid, slug-like things!! I was made to eat them and i still hate them!!! I love this idea of questioning being ingrained young- it is just the norm then! Good to make it fun too x

  7. Your kids are so cute! I love this idea and I think the point of talking about things young is such a good one.

  8. Lovely, instructive post and a delight to read! A functional family!!! and a nice looking one, too.
    You must be very proud. P.S. I did not like mushrooms either at that age!
    XX, Elle

  9. LOL-what a great photo of your kids! I grew up with that sort of dinner every night and tried to give it to my son too. It was a bit of a struggle because my husband hadn't grown up with that and he sometimes made it difficult. Long story. To make up for it, I took every other opportunity I had to really talk with my son, ask him questions and answer his. Often this was when we were in the car. He is 19 now and we talk about all sorts of things. He tells me things and did right through his teen years, which many kids don't tell their parents. Sometimes you have to be prepared to hear things you don't want to know, but I still wouldn't have it any other way!

  10. Lovely pics and post! When the boys were still children, we always tried to eat our meals as a family, too! So glad we did! Fond, fond memories--plus, it truly gave us all added time to connect with each other. :) T.

  11. So sweet! Makes me wish my kids were little again! Debbie @

  12. i'm consistently impressed and inspired by what a good mother you are -- i'm definitely remember this question game for my own family dinners :)

  13. megan, your kids look great! don't they just continue to awe & amaze you with their insight & intelligence? seriously that eva is so smart & right. i still haven't felt like blogging, but i'm not dead yet.
    i happen to think eva's mom is kinda smart too, as well as creative, & stylish. don't you?

  14. This is by far the best tradition. Having different schedules and my husband usually working till late it doesn't happen often at our home but hopefully it will when Vivian is older. And I love love love corn on the cobb. =)