Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Occupational Blessing.....

Today I am happy to be married to a Bible College professor! Maybe I will be happy tomorrow too!! One of the reasons is that we eat dinner together. Reports say that a family that eats dinner together most evenings, tend to communicate more and bond on a deeper level. Reports say that parents are more engaged with the children and I would add, parents are more engaged with the children. Shared meals bring an anchor to the house.

Denny and I both grew up in homes where meals were spent together so it is not an unusual thing for us to raise Ryan and Renee in the same way. Time magazine published a report (June 4,2006) that reads, "Kids who eat dinner with the parents are healthier, happier, and better students."

For some cultures, eating together is simply "being" together without talking and laughing and communicating verbally. Something that surprises our Jamaican students is how much we TALK when we eat!!! That makes me laugh because I always think, Oh I wish they could have experienced the Hall family dinners. My brother is a comedian, the rest of us would laugh so hard at Marvin's antics and stories that today I wonder how we finished our meal! My mom is a great cook, we would have eaten dinner cold, I guess!

Because Den is a professor with set hours it makes our dinner time easy to accommodate. Renee's extracurricular activities are after school so it makes life real easy to eat together.

Today I am grateful for that. We have another tradition that we have set for our time here in Jamaica. We read a chapter out loud and play a game as soon as we finish eating, even before doing the dishes. Right now the book we have chosen is Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life and the game of choice is Skip-Bo!

I found this article on line,10 Great Reasons to Eat Dinner as a Family, written by Sheila Wray Gregoire.

It’s good for the body!
1. When families eat together, everyone tends to eat healthier. People who have frequent family meals consume more calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C and E. It could be because home-cooked meals are healthier than fast food and restaurant meals. (Source: Archives of Family Medicine)

2. Children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables when they frequently have dinner with their families. They also tend to eat fewer snack foods. (Source: American Dietetic Association) When we eat all together, we cook meatloaf with veggies on the side or we make stew. When the kids eat alone, we heat up chicken fingers. Not good.

3. Children in families who eat dinner together are less likely to be overweight (Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine). I think this is also because parents are watching what they eat! And when we snack in front of the TV, we eat way more than if we were sitting at a table.

Good for the brain
4. Children from families who eat meals together get better grades than their peers who don’t have lots of family meal times (Source: Lou Harris-Reader’s Digest National Poll).

5. When families eat together frequently, children have better language skills compared to kids from families who don’t have family mealtimes often. (Source: Harvard University) TV doesn’t teach language skills well. When we eat at the table, kids hear their parents talking to each other, too. It’s great!

Good for emotional health
6. Children of families who eat together report feeling happier and are more optimistic about the future, than their peers who have infrequent family meals. (Source: Lou Harris- Reader’s Digest National Poll)

7. Teenagers are less likely to use drugs, smoke, and drink alcoholic drinks, when their families eat together regularly. (Source: Columbia University) I read this study a few years ago and have quoted it frequently. When we eat dinner, we catch up with our kids. They know we care so they’re less likely to give in to peer pressure!

8. It may come as a surprise, but among Moms who work outside the home, those who have family mealtimes reported feeling less stress than those who had family dinners less
often. (Source: Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal) When we feel that our priorities are being met, we feel less stress.

9. The more often teen girls had meals with their families, the less likely they were to have symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviors. (Source: University of Minnesota) And fewer teenage pregnancies!

Good for family bonding
10. Eating together gives family members the chance to communicate and build relationships, something that both adults and children appreciate very much. (Source: Nutrition Education Network of Washington & Oprah Winfrey’s “Family Dinner Experiment”)

Some "intentional" choices are really good. So glad that we were intentional about eating around the table with Ryan and continuing the practice with Renee. It's not always easy if your husband is on call or works nights but being a college professor's wife is really convenient even when he teaches the night students, thanks Den!

1 comment:

  1. Great article. I remember eating at your Mom and Dad's table myself. Marvin was much younger but he was always a comedian. I was probably 16 or 17 the last time I ate at your home in Tioga, PA. before the dam, the lake and the move to Boston. I have very fond memories of that house, playing softball in the cow pasture, swinging out over the road on the rope swing, playing in the creek, and going to the Keystone Quartet concerts at your church. Your family has blessed many, many people. It is only fitting that you are missionaries and that Denny is professor in a Bible college. We love you and thank God for you. Uncle Ray and Aunt Sharon Hall