The Family Dinner Love-Fest

Like most of the great things we do as a family, the family-dinner love-fest was something my wife introduced into the household. Basically what happens is every time we sit down for dinner as a family we go around the table and say what we love about one another (including ourselves).

When the kids were younger we used to get very simple and repetitive reasons why they loved each other (funny, plays with me, tells good stories, etc) but as the years have gone by they’ve discovered a greater depth of feeling for themselves and for us.

They’ve even managed to include the fridge as a running joke. Not the old running fridge joke where you ring someone and ask if their fridge is running and when they say yes you giggle and say, “Well you better go catch it!” No, more like “I love the fridge because it keeps my chocolate ice-creams cold!”

It’s a wonderful way of getting the kids to open up about their feelings and emotions and a great way for my wife and I to show our appreciation for the efforts the other makes.

As is often the case these days, we usually only get to sit down and eat as a family three or four times a week but we do it every single time we’re together. It’s never become a chore, it’s never been painful, it’s just become another part of the meal much like the food and drinks and everyone helping to tidy up afterwards.

I was watching one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies with the kids the other day and when Greg goes to stay with his friend Rowley, they were doing the same thing. It got pretty weird when Greg had to say what he loved about Rowley’s dad so you might want to keep it within the family. But then again why shouldn’t we all be doing this every time we have a meal with people we love, our friends for instance. We should be letting them know how much they contribute to our lives, how their friendship makes us better, stronger people.

Kids usually only demonstrate a handful of emotions: happy, sad, nonchalant and angry; this little love-fest helps them discover a whole bunch more including empathy and confidence and if nothing else, it helps them learn to open-up.

The next time you get a chance to sit and enjoy a meal with your kids you might like to give it a go.

Fergus Donaldson is a dad of two and co-founder of The Dad Website.


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