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Header - Family Tip 2 - 1 Family Meal - 10 Powerful benefits

By Antonio Fragelli

For many families these days, holding one meal a day together is a challenge. But the time and effort is well worth the investment because the interest pays. In our fast paced world, gathering the family around a well set table once a day is a dwindling practice. Yet this practice holds a secret that yields incalculable benefits.

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Here are ten reasons why:

 

1) Creating the sense of Family
When we talk about the “sense of family”, what do we mean, exactly? The “sense of family” is the sense of oneness, the sense of belonging to a unique family in which each member is uniquely valued. We feel that we are all made of the same stuff, members of the same body. So we defend our own as we defend our own limbs.

A daily family meal tremendously enhances this sense of family. And the sense of belonging is the best psychological/emotional help you can give a human being.

 

2) A chance to talk, to listen, to bond
Family meal time is the best of quality time. It is a time when, after all are served and appetites are appeased, parents have a chance to calmly converse with their children, listening and talking about the things that are important to them.  This interest promotes trust, respect and family bonding.  It will also provide the opportunity for parents to show their concern and to inquire into what may be troubling their children. Only God knows how many problems are avoided in a family who shares a meal a day. Good food has the power to satisfy, calm and relax. These are the times when joy is promoted, trust is nurtured and growth is supported.

 

3) Appreciation, Confidence and Decorum
Little by little, children will begin to feel more appreciated because of the fact that mom and, sometimes dad, go through the trouble and effort of cooking a homemade meal for them–everyday.

They will complain about this or that, I hate vegetables, and that sort of thing, but as they grow older, in a subtle, imperceptible way, drop by drop, day by day, they will develop a deep sense of self-worth, directly linked to their parents’ daily dedication to their well-being.

A young priest was recently asked in an interview who was the person that influenced his vocation the most; he said: “My mother. Though not particularly religious, she never failed to serve our family. I wanted to serve others like she served us.”

Another important part of this is a well set table.

When a friend invites you out it is a treat. But when you arrive and realize the meeting place is a fine restaurant, with the best of china and service, you feel indeed valued in friendship.
In the same way, in a family, children who are treated to a daily well-prepared-meal on a well-set-table, begin to feel that they are worth it.

This is a key point in children’s formation. Confidence and decorum learned not from a book but through daily habit generates secure men and women capable of navigating any social situation. They will have the inner self-assurance needed to face the world confidently and not be engulfed by it.

 

4) A time for instruction
Few places are better for instruction than the family table. The table is a place where parents can instruct their children in what we call Christian Civilization. A good way to begin are good manners. No better place than the dinner table:

“Susan that is not the way you hold your fork.”
“Thomas, say please when you ask for the salt.”

And so on.

 

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5) Discipline
As children grow older, they must be taught to control their animal appetite:

  • To wait until all are served or not to pile a huge amount of food on their plate. If they are really hungry, to go for seconds but not all at once.
  • To use a napkin and not the table cloth, shirt sleeves or arms to wipe their mouths.
  • To sit up straight and not stick their faces into their food.
  • For a child to learn to wait until the last one is served to begin on their dessert is equal to a Masters in self-discipline. Later in life, if they can discipline themselves, they will be able to discipline others. The reverse is not possible.

The lack of self-discipline in the early years, is perhaps the main cause of later-date criminals.

 

6) Instilling a sense of order
Another important benefit from the One Meal a Day is a sense of order. This will help children and the family to organize their day. Meal is a set time and it is important to strive to keep the schedule. This will not only help the sense of order in their young minds but also a sense of consistency, stability and accountability. It is something they can always depend on.

 

7) Good taste in food
I once commented to my mother that three brothers who are my friends, are very good cooks. My mother’s reply was: “I know their mother and she cooks very well. They grew up knowing what good food tastes like, so they strive in their adult lives to duplicate it.”

 

8) Eating healthy
A family meal a day is a way to ensure that the family enjoys not only good food but healthy food. A healthy meal goes a long way to keep people healthy and to avoid medical bills. And in this world of fast food and preservatives, this is crucial. The meal is therefore a benefit for soul and body.

A meal a day will also help children not to raid the fridge or snack all day. With one sure daily meal, mom can establish a few rules as to resisting the easy carbs in between meals.

 

9) Instilling the sense of God and gratitude for His benefits
A family meal should always begin and end with grace, blessing and thanking God for what He has given us. The idea that we owe the daily bounty to God is a crucial concept to instill in children, the concept of gratitude and religion.

 

10) A great place to learn the art of conversation
Besides all the above benefits and things to do at the family table, there is also the added benefit that while sitting around and enjoying a meal (minus electronic devices) we also learn to take notice of others and interact. This is a prime opportunity to develop the art of conversation.

But how?

This is the topic of Family Tips for next month. A concrete, down to earth, genial idea, from an old American family, on how to get our children not only “jabbering”, but actually “conversing”.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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