It’s elbow-to-elbow mass pandemonium. It’s the night when all sixteen of us—children, grandkids, and married children’s spouses—land around our massive dinner table. We call it family dinner night, and we try to do this once a week. It’s often so loud that I’m surprised the neighbors don’t complain.
When Doug and I birthed family dinner night a few years ago, we had no idea how important it would become. Our married children eagerly embrace it as a strong reconnection to their roots, while our younger ones are reminded that the older siblings really are their brothers and sisters. Recently, three-year-old Josiah was shocked to discover Lilibeth’s Daddy Nathan is actually his brother! It’s tough being the youngest of ten!
We figure this event is a great screening program for any potential suitor interested in one of our kids.
One of our favorite parts of family dinner is “share the news” time that Doug creatively initiated. It’s not rocket science; he simply goes around the table and asks each one if they have any news. Communication is the meat-and-potatoes of our family, and we’ve found that this is one way to keep that vital connection flowing.
You would not believe the variety of reports we get. All the way from “Dad, I lost another tooth today; it’s already under my pillow,” to “I heard in the news today that gay marriage is on the ballot again in California.”
I am amazed how often the kids come pre-loaded with news for these events. They have the family’s attention and they know it. We get a peek into their hearts and can hear what a priority sharing news is for them. Also, a discussion of the daily world news often yields our best teachable moments for a Christian Biblical worldview.
The tip this week is this: Try “share the news” time with your family some night at dinner. And let me know how it goes. I think you will find that this simple idea will be very fruitful.
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