There is in my opinion one thing that great families do regularly… they have easy ways of coming together and being together often borne of tradition and built up over many years of just doing it rather than forcing it. But sometimes you need to force it if your family is out of practice and you want a bit of love back.
My family used to have a great tradition: Sunday night dinners, and I think it is time we brought them back. Nothing fancy, nothing formal, just a standing booking for anyone who wanted to in the family to come together over a dinner my parents would be prepared for on every Sunday night. It made sure the grandparents and grandkids caught up as much as weekly, and kept us all connected in this busy busy world.
It was, for many years the one night we would all see each other. Parents would be home from work, teen and adult children would rarely have anything on and grandma and grandpa would come over. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to share their week’s activities without formality. The great thing about Sunday is that everyone in the younger generations has work the next day so they are not really looking for a large and raging event. So my parents declared long long ago that Sunday was a good fit for our family.
What we never expected was for a simple family event to become a well-looked-forward-to connection for three generations. Even my uncle, aunt, cousins and dear family friends would know the family dinner night and if they were passing through town would eagerly suggest they could pop in for it. It was a great way to be a part of something. That is it in a nutshell… belonging. We all want to belong somewhere and to feel special but I wonder how many families today have an easy and regular connection with the kids and grandkids that can become a part of the family process.
My parents in their fabulous retirement have moved too far away now to have Sunday dinner with. Dinners have become more occasional and more deliberate. It’s a pity because I remember them fondly, and I anticipate that as the people in the middle of the family, my home would be the perfect one to anchor these warm and easy to have events.
I’m remembering it because the other day in the business world one of my nearing 60 year old colleagues was telling me how he keeps his gen-y family popping in when life is busy and hailed his own family’s strategy of “regular, guaranteed, family dinner night” every week. For them it is on a Saturday night every week and their children all pop in for a good quality home cooked meal and bit of family love before their social lives kick in at a much later hour of the evening. They put on the barbeque and the kids roll in at about 5.30, and are gone by 8-8.30 leaving them in peace to enjoy each other’s company. In the early years their parents would come along too, although there is only his mum left now.
And so I want to know today if your family has a Sunday Night Dinner, and what you think of the idea of creating simple routines in your family that reduce the isolation of each individual and help them know their family can be an incremental part of life at any age. I love the idea of the Sunday Dinner Pledge and want to ask if you will take it today.
If we get enough people who like the idea we’ll start looking for great family recipes for the Sunday Dinner Night and send them out on Saturdays so you can have some fun when everyone pops in!
Tell us today… is Sunday Dinner for you? Or do you have another way of bringing everyone together? Or has it become too hard in your family?