The Family Table

Feb 8, 2013Family Uncaged

I’m here to jump up on my soapbox (conveniently shaped like our dining room table) and preach a bit.

Why? Because the family table is splintering. We no longer gather around a table and interact.

And yet, the simple, elemental act of eating together as a family is one of the most important things you can do (Click to tweet)—not only to foster lasting relationships, but also to prevent bad choices later.

A 2010 survey reveals the family table’s importance. “The magic that happens at family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the conversations around it. . . The more often children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs.” Since that is so, let’s make our tables irresistible!


One way to do that is to engage.

Around the table our family plays high-low where we share a high and a low from our days. This gives us a snapshot into their lives and often sparks great conversations and laughter. To deepen our time, I typed up questions that I printed, cut into strips, then placed in a box on our table. Each child took a turn on subsequent days to draw a question. This simple exercise, guinea-pigged by our family, became a book you can use around your table entitled 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking.

get kids talking3-10

I love what author Marjorie Thompson writes about the family table. “The Jewish faith has been characterized as a ‘table spirituality’ in which the central feasts and holy days are celebrated around the altar of the family table.” May it be that we emulate this “table spirituality” where we actively celebrate milestones, victories, defeats, and the usual bumps and bruises of daily life.

May our tables become an altar where we worship God and love each other. Click to tweet.

We must take seriously the needs of our family to have genuine conversation with us—time to walk alongside us, to speak with authenticity, to do life together around the family table. As our family has experienced, the teen years have become life giving, not life draining—all built on the foundation of many conversations.

Next Friday, my cookbook, The Irresistible Table, releases. It represents years of cooking, gathering, and conversing. It contains recipes forged in Texas all the way to France and back. Here’s a sneak peek at two table-gathering recipes, one for breakfast, one for dessert. Click each one individually to read it better.



Q4u: How often do you gather with your family around the table? What’s your favorite way to start conversation?