My husband and I, and our two sons, ages 12 and 16, eat dinner together every night. As a family. At the table. TV, computers and texting not allowed.
I have it on very good authority that this will enlarge our kids' vocabulary, boost their test scores, help them stay drug- and stress-free and even, paradoxically, trim waistlines (the author of that study obviously hasn't had my lasagna). Meals In Front Of TV Not Good For You
More from YourTango: How To Raise 'Colorblind' Kids In A Racist World
That all sounds super duper terrific, but none of the supposed benefits are why we do it. We eat together because it feels right.
For that half hour, we ignore the outside world. We talk, sometimes argue, laugh and plan both trivial and important stuff. We look one another directly in the eye and speak out loud, often in full sentences, with no abbreviations. Emotions, not emoticons. 20 Relationships And Technology Dos And Don'ts
More from YourTango: How To Help Your Kid Land A Summer Job
In the promos for the movie Eat, Pray, Love, the main character takes a one-year sabbatical from her life, and explains her ambivalence about finding a new mate. "I'm having a relationship with my pizza," she says, literally licking her fingers. And why not; she's in Italy, after all. But what she doesn't say, what we all know but rarely recognize, is that she's also having a relationship with the person across the table.
Break bread and, instantly, there's more going on than mere sustenance. In my childhood home, Mom ate in the kitchen, skimming a celebrity magazine. Dad ate on the couch with the six o'clock news. And I ate on a tray in the den, watching some inane sitcom.