We did it but our grandkids might never get the chance 100



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Every Sunday night my family would have dinner. I use the term family loosely. By “family” I really mean our five immediate family members, our cousins, our aunties and uncles, the grandparents, the neighbours some of our school friends, even the priest and any passers by or people dropping in “because they were in the neighbourhood”.

It wasn’t a fancy dinner, it was a barbeque in summer, a crock pot in winter or whatever Mum and Dad felt like putting together, but it was every Sunday. We ate dinner as a family, at a table, every night, but Sunday was special. It was a tradition.

On Sunday afternoon I asked our Facebook community, “Did you once do Sunday lunch or dinner with your family? Was it a weekend tradition or ritual in your childhood?” And over 200 of you responded saying yes. So many of us had a Sunday lunch or dinner tradition. For some, like me, it was the whole world, for others it was just the immediate family. For some it was casual and an “anything goes” type of affair whereas for others it was a formal roast. Regardless of how we did it, we all did it. But it seems as though the traditional family lunch or dinner has completely been lost. And what is more saddening is that nothing has replaced it.

Earlier that Sunday I had asked, “what are you up to today?” and the replies were varied but none said anything about a family lunch or dinner. This made me realise that the family time we all once held sacred really is gone.

Last week when I was babysitting the grandkids, my grandson had a little whinge while we sat around the dinner table to eat. He said that during the day the teacher had asked the class of 27 students, how many eat as a family at the dining table each night. Only three students put up their hands and he was one of them. He was annoyed because he wanted to sit in front of the TV while he ate like most of his friends.

This isn’t a big family dinner, it isn’t a formal family dinner it is quite simply, just a weeknight dinner where you eat with your family and catch up on the days news. It helped relationships to form between siblings and their parents. It helped us to communicate, to be honest and to listen. It helped us to bond and form a family relationship.

But very few families do that anymore and I have to ask, what is the real, social cost of losing this tradition?

Is this why distance is being created between immediate family members and their relatives including grandparents? Is this why younger generations are becoming more and more removed from the social etiquette norms we know? Is this why people are struggling to have empathy in the world and look at things from other people’s views?

It seems trivial, saying that eating dinner with family and friends on a regular ongoing basis is this important. But I think the lack of true communication and connection people have these days on a personal, honest level is starting to cause bigger problems than we care to realise.

It makes me sad, because all of the memories I have from those big Sunday family dinners are some of my favourite. They really were some of my favourite family times throughout my life. But my grandkids will never understand let alone experience what that kind of celebration is like and the way the world is going, they probably will never get the chance.

Tell me, do you agree? Do you see this happening in your own family? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. Minded my grandkids last night. We had dinner at the dining table. Both my daughters and their families carry this tradition on.

  2. I agree, children eat separately to parents not always at the same time, it is very sad those traditions or simply daily routine of eating dinner togather at the table is quickly disappearing! It is where we learnt many of our manners both table and otherwise!

  3. Family dinner was when I got interrogated at length about all my school subjects, and was a form of extended lesson time. Awful.
    Sunday lunch was a roast, which was good, and Saturday lunch was cold cuts including ham which I loathed then and loath now. I still can’t sit at a family dinner table without cringing, though I have no problem with restaurants.

  4. We always ate at the table when my kids were at home . Now my grandkids do the same . A time to talk about your day and anything else . Problems got solved , and also fun times too !

  5. I miss our family meals the one time in a busy schedule where there was NO TV (didn’t have mobiles back then). Wed talk about school, any problems the kids had and everyone got the sauce bottle (if you had the sauce bottle you had the floor

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  6. I think it is important to a Hugh degree to eat together as a family. We learn things about each other and we do not get distracted by any thing Mobile phones should be turned off TV sets turned off and we learn to talk listen laugh with each other. I did with my children and one night a week they had a dinner in front of the TV Friday night as I did not let them watch much TV at all it rarely went on even weekends. We played a lot of games read and built or made things. I used to save boxes and cards and odds and ends for craft.

  7. We used to have high tea at my grandmothers house every Sunday. You have to remember that in those days everyone lived much nearer to one another often in the same suburb. Those days have gone.

  8. Family dinners were wonderful for me till I hit the grand old age of 9 years old. Then I had to get my own dinner, I have some funny memories, I could not cook, and I burnt everything lol. One day I burned everything so black I could not clean the saucepan, so I tossed it over the back fence into the drain before my mother got home from work much later in the evening and found it. She never mentioned it but I have often wondered if she realized that her saucepan was missing. I mainly lived on lollies !!

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  9. It’s so important to have that time, it’s usually when children start talking about things that you may not hear otherwise

  10. This tradition will be in the past until todays people put away the mobile devices they use.It could take a couple of generations to happen so dont wait just keep saying and inviting your family to lunch

  11. Yes I remember, every Sunday we had roast dinner, I loved the Smell of my mothers roast filling the house with an awesome aroma, yes this is where we learnt our table manners which don’t exist today….. We as a family sat at the dinner table every night of the week and we took turns in setting the table then after dinner clearing the table….. no one was allowed to leave the table till everyone was finished and knife and fork placed beside each other on the plate………. Those were the days.

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    • Sounds a lot like when I was growing up. Has not hurt me at all and I really find it very sad that a lot of Family traditions have been lost.

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