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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 August 2, 2021

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it give...

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August 2

 

The state of grace is nothing other than purity,
and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it.
Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace
purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity,
exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults.
Purity will make saints of you!
Everything lies in this.

St. Peter Julian Eymard


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

The Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up i...

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia where his father died a martyr. His mother took him and his sister to live in Rome where Eusebius eventually joined the clergy and was ordained a lector. He was sent to Vercelli and served the Church so well there that he was chosen as its bishop. He is the first bishop of Vercelli whose name was recorded.

In 354 he was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the Emperor Constantius to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian disputes. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arians would have their way. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius, who’s  refusal to tolerate Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions. Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after Eusebius undertook a four-day hunger strike. They soon resumed their harassment.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to return to his see in Vercelli. He died in 371.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.