Thursday, July 6, 2017

Family Dinner Table

Year 5 - Day 187: Today, I am grateful great change begins at the dinner table.

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table."-Ronald Reagan

In this new season of newly, married children and another working away from home this summer, there is nothing like having everyone around a family table. The more the merrier. 

Now, a family table is anytime and any place we all gather. With the fullness of the season it has not often been at home. 

I love this image and the quote. 

We always had family dinners when the kids were young. It is how we were raised and the value of the family dinner table did not escape us. The conversation and time for connecting was priceless and precious. 

I was listening to talk radio the other day and I was intrigued by a conclusion on of the hosts... a popular voice in radio... had found as a new mission. At the heart of it... summarized... "We must reach and teach the children." 

In my heart and from The Word, I know what we need most. It fascinates me that in the secular news, there is a faction that is talking about the need to once again find a moral compass, a passion for giving, a respect for hard work, volunteerism and learning to truly value those with differing opinions and life experiences. 

With great freedom, comes great responsibility.
Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

I can disagree with you and defend your right to your opinion.
I can disagree with you and love you.
Service teaches. Service reaches others.
Work... including volunteer work... builds a work ethic.
Parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts teach by example.
Schools can teach these things in and out of the classroom.
Words build up or tear down.
Actions support or nullify words.

Love is a truer arrow than hate. 

So, today we can teach young people to hold a door, share a meal, support a charity, build another up with encouragement and to lend a hand to the older, weaker or lonely. 

 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? -1 John 3:16-17

Another reminder to live our lives as a living sacrifice. 

To live for ourselves and worldly gain... the end for most is self-destruction. A life lived in service to others discovers the joy comes from what we give... not what we get. We must choose whom we will serve and teach it at the dinner table. 

... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15

We can instruct them to "make good choices" and make a difference. Over the door of our family entrance, I created a quote and put it up years ago. It is our prayer for our family.

"Always remember your faith, your manners and the way home." 

Had I created the quote in the pre-adolescent years, we might have finished with: "Make good choices." Instead, they have heard us say it endlessly. 

As parents and mentors, we won't always get it right...but to create change, we must start. One family dinner at a time. We are all a work in progress. Not perfect, but pressing on. 

Today, I am grateful great change begins at the dinner table. 

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