Sunday Dinner With the Family

A family sits down together, three generations, for a Sunday dinner

In decades past, large Sunday suppers with relatives were widespread traditions. Grandma in her apron, checking on the food; the kids playing with their cousins in the yard; uncles gathered around visiting until the savory feast was on the table.

Family gatherings

While times have changed, there's still value in family gatherings. Kids benefit from the love shown and the bonds forged with relatives. In today's fast-paced, often disconnected society, perhaps it's more crucial than ever to model family togetherness for your kids.

If you are fortunate enough to have extended family living nearby, why not resurrect the often-overlooked tradition of a family meal? To start, consider your heritage. Prepare family recipes of the past and present, and let the children help. Your children may grow to appreciate your family's traditional dishes and the time you spend together. Or if you choose to have each of your family members bring a dish, request that they bring along the recipe. Compile these recipes and make them available to all your guests by posting them to your blog, forwarding them through e-mail or compiling a booklet.

A new tradition

Extended family suppers could also give children the opportunity to honor and serve their elders. If you want to start new traditions, let the younger generation plan, execute (with help) and serve a meal for the rest of the clan. If they get stuck coming up with the menu, make it a theme night — Mexican fiesta, Italian buffet, '50s diner, and so on.

Coming together with your extended family for a meal can also provide opportunities to share God's love with those relatives who may not know Him. With some relatives, you will have the pleasure of saying grace, thanking the Father not only for the food but also for the multigenerational connections. With others, you can show them God's love through your sensitivity and service to them during these meals. By regularly gathering with extended family for Sunday suppers, you are creating an occasion for bonding, helping your children learn more about their heritage and giving your kids opportunities for getting to know their family.

This article first appeared in the March/April, 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine and was originally titled "A Seat at the Table." Copyright © 2011 by Karen Ehman. Used by permission.

You Might Also Like:

  • Bible Kidventures: Stories of Danger and Courage

    Sheila Seifert

    You must decide the role you'll play as you choose your own Bible kidventure in the battle of Jericho, the Israelites in the desert, Saul's attack on the early church and a battle that starts with worship.

  • Family Legacies

    J. Otis Ledbetter and Kurt Bruner

    If we don't intentionally pass a legacy consistent with our beliefs, our culture will pass along its own.

  • Whit's End Mealtime Devotions: 90 Faith-Building Ideas

    Crystal Bowman and Tricia Goyer

    You make sure your children get the proper food they need to grow physically. But are you providing a healthy spiritual diet to grow their hearts for God and others?