By Amy Seiffert
Colorful Family Meals:
Kids are challenging. Maybe it’s the amount of them or the season they are in or the specific challenges/personalities they have or all of that combined in one big blender together. (We have 13 adults and 12 kids - 5 of which are under 3!) I have chatted with many of you that find it challenging to focus and have meaningful conversations while kids are EVERYWHERE as we move to less babysitters. Yep. Me too. It’s haaaaard.
Our Sunday Family Meals are our very colorful time. Sometimes “family time” is just that - we aren’t all circled up and joining in one collective theological conversation - but connecting in the corners with a few here and there. Being family. Rich with spills and wiping kiddos noses and helping each other and dripping waffle messes and loudness. Family is nutty.
- Colorful Family Meal Tip: Stay at the Table. We feed our kids first and then as they are fed and ready to play, the next 20-30 minutes adults sit down (or at least gather around the same area) and eat and chat. Have you ever noticed that you are connecting and talking quite naturally while eating and then, if you transition to another room to really have discussion, it can kill it? Stay at the table and throw out a question for discussion. Or text out a question before you gather and you can connect over it, asking each other in small pockets, and then when you do gather and are eating, you can have a collective discussion. Kids are definitely around, but I think we can use that unique window where they are happy and fed.Community happens over the breaking of bread.
- Something else to think through: At what age or for what discussions do we encourage our kids to stick around and participate? Sharing and praying with their “aunts and uncles"? Even the smallest question: What are you grateful for? can be answered by the smallest ones…...
Calm Family Meals:
We are committed to having some Friday nights where it’s extended adult time. Sharing, talking, looking at God’s word, praying, worship, whatever your family needs. We recently took a family vacation with my extended bio family. And while there for a week, all meals were colorful family meals. But we did take one night away and had just adult time to reconnect and refresh one another. Both staying in with kids and going out with adults was normal.