Is dinner at your house a bit crazy? Perhaps it needs a little injection of purpose.
When the meal is all about getting kids to settle down and eat their food, it’s bound to be a struggle. But when it’s about meaningful stories and questions, it can take on a whole new tone. Consider Tim’s discovery.
Tim’s young kids could barely keep their bottoms on the chair ’til they finished their mac ’n’ cheese. One night, wanting to try something different, he pulled out a book he had ordered, Window on the World, that describes what it’s like to be a child in different countries around the world and suggests different ways to pray for the people who live there. Tim began to read about Afghanistan, “Do you see the pictures of these little boys from Afghanistan who look your age? (Yes.) What do you think they feel living there?” They discussed how the kids in the picture are probably sometimes happy because they live with their family; sometimes sad because they are very poor; and sometimes scared because their country is really dangerous.
“Let’s each put our fingers on one of the boys in the picture to pray for them,” Tim encouraged. Dallas, his three-year-old, picked a little boy who looked sad. Two-year-old Hunter picked the country flag as if to pray for the whole country. They prayed aloud for the country based on what they had just read about what the people need physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
What a great way to put build values of compassion, prayer, generosity for those in need, and peaceful connective meals. Even if your family is struggling like ours was in the early days, “overcome evil with good” by keeping your meals focused on connection and kingdom values.
If dinner times are just too chaotic, this can be a great bedtime activity as well.
Apply it Now:
- Set a positive tone: Wait until later to bring up problems, and don’t make the meal be all about the food.
- Tell engaging and purposeful stories – like Tim did.
- Choose a concise devotional reading like Our Daily Bread, or Max Lucado’s Grace for the Moment.
- Make a habit of asking your kids to share when they were a blessing to someone that day, or who might be someone the family could pray for briefly before leaving the table.
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