Has Dinnertime Disappeared?

March 31, 2010
By laughlovewrite SILVER, St. Louis, Missouri
laughlovewrite SILVER, St. Louis, Missouri
8 articles 1 photo 0 comments

With busy schedules, personal commitments, and “I would rather...” attitudes, its not a surprise that a large population of American families don’t sit down for dinner together. Instead they are caught up in a world of fast food and single meals, without sharing that time with the people they should care about the most: Your family. So what is the advantage in letting go of this beneficial time? In our increasingly busy society, family meal times are fading, and now it is time to call everyone back to the dinner table.

The benefits of eating together, don’t have to be proved in a study or statistic, because the real benefits are right in front of us. The biggest benefit being, the time families spend together. When families take the time to sit down and eat together, everyone benefits. Children and teens whose families eat together are so much more likely to excel in life. As well as picking up on better manners, they have been found to have better grades and communication skills, from the dinner conversations, the feeling of support and appreciation makes them strive to be better in school. Multiple studies have shown that children and teens that eat together with their families are less likely to pick up on bad behaviors, such as smoking, doing drugs, becoming depressed, or developing eating disorders. Never the less, one of the most important advantages for families is health. When families sit down to eat together, they tend to take the time to actually make a meal making it a healthier, and cheaper choice. The benefits of eating together are too valuable to continue to slip from families.

Despite the clear benefits for families, eating together hasn’t been the easiest thing for families to accomplish each night. From busy schedules to after school activities, one of the biggest factors holding back family meals is time. In a busy society, finding a time in everyone’s schedule isn’t easy. Parents often are held up due to work commitments, and night shifts, Then when it is dinnertime some parents are not even home to see the family, let alone eat a meal together. Parents are not the only one with a busy schedule. Kids and teens, often don’t want to waste their free time at home to sit down and eat. With schoolwork and busy social lives, parents cannot be the only ones to blame. Other factors holding back dinnertime together is, unfortunately, the self serve junk food industry, and the microwave. The self-serve microwave, a silent family killer, has become the easiest thing to turn to for a fast meal. Yet it has also become the number one thing encouraging single meals with a lack of nutrition. Families under the pressure of busy lifestyles, seem to lean toward the quick, easy, greasy meals supplied by the fast food industry. This custom that families have adapted to, has made the sacrifice of meal time seem not so bad.

Bringing dinnertime back to the American family isn’t an easy task however, there are ways to bring the benefits back to your family. When families are overcome with “I would rather..” opinions, its not easy to find the will power to bring everyone back to the dinner table. The only solution is to just try it. A family dinner, not a grand occasion, is sitting down together and talking about your day as you share a meal. Nothing Extravagant. Just eating together as a family should mean more, than a fast food meal by yourself. And who said dinner had to be the meal that families share together? When evenings are too busy for families, breakfast or lunch can can be an equally beneficial time. Time shouldn’t be an excuse for family meals. Whether it involves changing meal times or pre-preparing meals, it is time to bring everyone back to the table.

Dinnertime, the family meal, has been known to world for as long as families have been around. Known as being a great time to sit down, and share a meal together, ignoring the busy society around us. Still, busy schedules and other negative influences have dwindled percentages of American families that share a meal together every day. When family meals are the first to fade from American homes, the benefits disappear as well. And since you only have this one family and this one life, it’s time to call everyone back to the dinner table.

The author's comments:
My family and I have always eaten together. Sharing a meal, that I now have a much greater appreciation for. After all it wasn't until middle school when I realized most families weren't like mine, and eating together was a mere holiday occasion. Family dinners have become such an important part of my life, and hope for other families to realize the same benefits.

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