Family time around the table.The kitchen table in the family home is becoming more of an ornament as time goes by. That's even more tragic for the Cajun and Creole cultures, where the kitchen table was a place to gather each day as a family, share, discuss tough issues and learn about life. It's a tradition my beautiful bride and I insisted on having in our home.
And, it's because of my wife our little family has a new tradition that makes dinner time even more special. She came up with the idea that we would discuss the best part of our individual days when we sat down to eat. She usually gets the conversation going, but I've noticed the Little Men are more excited each day to begin the process.
Dad, by default, typically goes first. It's amazing how such a simple question that you know is coming wipes your brain completely clean. Sometimes I really struggle to put the "best" label on a particular part of my day. Often, the best part of my day is this moment when we are sitting together at the kitchen table as a family sharing.
Over time, our Little Men have gone from saying the family meal is the best part of their day to actually anticipating the question. They squirrel away ideas to share that evening. And, you can pretty much figure out who has the most tucked away because they are the most animated when we get started.
One of the fascinations of being a parent is watching your children mature. The process is never accompanied by neon signs or signals that indicate your child is about to say something profound for their particular age. It's only through listening, hearing what they are saying and contemplating on it later in the evening that you realize what occurred before your very eyes.
I've grown more intrigued by what our Little Men will say. Great moments still range from getting a new toy that day to some act of kindness, or a special moment shared while playing. They're 5. I'm not expecting Plato or Socrates here. Still, some of the things they say hit just as hard and make my old mind reel about who I am, where I'm headed.
So, let me close with a challenge to you. Try this simple tradition a few times with your family. If you're not married, try it with your friends the next time you're sitting around a dinner table enjoying a night out. Then, sit back and be amazed at how quickly you forget to complain about life and start to realize how awesome this gift God gave us really is.