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Taking Back the Family Table

A series on creating space in your home for deep connection and meaningful conversations.

Hey Mamas! How is your family table? You know the one. The one that may have been overtaken by summer projects,  laundry or a WFH office? How about your summer togetherness meter? Mine fluctuates often. Which continually forces me to press into God. To seek His truth and trust in His faithfulness amidst upside town.

The truth is, our world will never make sense while we are looking at it through the lens of culture, government, social media, or even our own limited sight. We must overlay God’s promises and His way onto the pavement of our own lives. Along the way, we’ll desperately need all the baby Jesuses in order to raise these little people or fulfill the purposes God has given us.

If, like me, you desire to create a space in your home for deep connection and meaningful conversations, I’d like to offer some ways to start down that road. This series will cover a couple of key components each week along with helpful ideas and resources for our family table.

First things first… let’s get some perspective and find purpose.

The Way of Jesus…

As we seek God’s help and direction, whether in our pandemic or non-pandemic parenting, I’d like us to consider one thing God values for sure. To gather and to grow. Jesus walked this earth, as God in human form, to save us from our sin and bring us into right relationship with God. During which he modeled this vital part of his ministry… gathering with His people in order to grow them as His people.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

Jesus made time for, walked with, and talked with those around him. Together they sat at meals, prayed, ministered to others, and talked about life. He asked hard but engaging questions. Extending grace and unconditional love towards those he built relationships with. His way was the real deal mamas! As we look to create meaningful connection amidst our family, we have an in real life example in the way Jesus lived. His perspective gives our family table more purpose.

When the family table is amidst the great outdoors.

Our Biggest Parenting Win

Which leads me to one of our favorite family practices that has proven so fruitful over the years. Listen, my husband and I have experienced plenty of parenting fails and mishaps and there are things we wish we’d done differently. However, if there is one thing we stuck to and are so thankful for, it’s creating a culture of conversation in our home.

We are a big loud family who specializes in talking over one another. So, there is an abundance of feelings, opinions and nonsense flying around at any given moment. Nevertheless, we have consistently made time for and pressed into meaningful dialogue with our kids. In the next few weeks we will look at various ways that have helped to create this culture in our home.

Full disclosure: Open communication brings both sides of the coin to the table. The upside: we talk about EVERYTHING… nothings is off limits.  The downside: talking about ALL THE THINGS can be hard and awkward and sometimes means tender emotions being splayed out on the family table.  However, avoiding the difficult means missing out on the meaningful. So, sign me up for the connection with my people along with some mess!

How to begin connecting with our people and bring meaning to our family table?

Thanksgiving circa 2011

Food matters

Maybe it’s not the most obvious place to begin but just go with me for a minute. God gave us food that not only sustains us but also has bonus benefits. Food tastes amazing, there’s an endless expanse of flavors, and it brings people together! I’m convinced out of God’s goodness he made this so. He cares about us and our gathering together.

Likewise, in fostering that family connection vibe… I’ve found that food makes all things better… especially conversations. Gathering around a meal just does something. It connects us through a shared experience and brings a buffer to any discomfort.

Now, don’t freak out! This is not meant to create yet another thing on your to do list. You have options my friend: make a family favorite meal, or dessert, pop some popcorn and offer some fun toppings, or order pizza and call it a win! I’ve written an entire post here full of ideas that help us with the feeding of our people, while keeping our sanity afloat.

This was one of our Covid baking days

Good Family Practices

Consequently, this is a great opportunity to get our kids involved. Reminding them that they are part of a family unit and we work together and contribute as we are for one another. This is not Club Med and we are not the Kardashians. All members, outside of toddlerhood, can serve. We are striving to raise children who are others oriented as opposed to narcissistic.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3 ESV

Often by allowing our kids to contribute, they feel a sense of ownership. Becoming better people and participants in the process. Allow them to pick the menu, help prepare or clean up, make a fun sign, be in charge of discussion questions, create a seating chart, or choose the music. Or how about clear the actual table of all signs of a pandemic. DEEP BREATHES MAMA!

Now that’s one way to listen to music when you have dish duty.

Caution: Avoid the temptation for this to become a huge ordeal with unrealistic expectations. The goal is not to look like a Pinterest board or to have the perfect plan. The goal is that meaningful, natural, relaxed gathering would grow into a regular rhythm in our homes. That our family table will be a safe and authentic place for us to connect and support one another. And that our kids will gain a sense of belonging and maturity in the process.

Now that’s one way to peel a cucumber

Continue here for more helpful components for connecting with our people and bringing meaning to our family table.


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