Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Practice of Making a Habit

This year, as I have many years before, I want to try to at last make a habit of eating dinner at the table with the family.

I grew up eating dinner at the kitchen table every night with the family.  I would never have imagined dinner any other way.  I couldn't understand people who spoke of being too busy to eat as a family.  We were always home for dinner or it waited.  We ate dinner as a family every night of my life.  Until I was married.

Maybe it was just another rebellion.  I purposely fold my towels different than the way I grew up because I wanted to do it MY way.  Is that why we didn't eat dinner at the table after we were married?  Simply because we didn't have to?  I assumed that as we had children we would just find our way back to the table.  Yet here we are 20 years later and we can't seem to break the habit we started the first day of our marriage eating dinner off our laps in front of the tv.

We have tried.  And we do like to eat together.  Our son has even been known to request this practice.  That is when you really feel like a failure, when your child is begging for family time.  We go through periods of eating together but as soon as a little hiccup in life comes we are back on the couch, back in separate rooms eating in front of the flickering blue box.

This year I have resolved above all other things to begin eating at the table regularly.  As I have learned over the years and blogged about in the past a new habit doesn't come from figuring out the perfect plan or new routine that will make you suddenly yearn daily for your new habit never to think of your old routine again but rather happens as we daily recommit to the new task.  As we turn back to the new routine again and again we slowly break the old habit and strengthen the new habit until it really does become part of our lives.

In some ways we have been developing this habit for a few years as we have tried and failed to make this a regular habit.  So really this year we are just strengthening our resolve to break our bad habit and further develop the habit of eating at the table.

Last year we finally turned a corner on breaking the habit of eating out.  We are eating at home much more.  And cooking at home more just gives us that many more opportunities to succeed at eating dinner together.

A new habit needs some accountability.  So we discussed it as a family, agreed we all enjoyed this practice and wanted to make it a habit.  And we all agreed that if one person suggested we be lazy and go watch tv the others would stand firm rather than falling in line behind the weakest link...which is what normally happens.

Can I count on all of you to stand with me as well?

I Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."


  1. Off-topic, but isn't it time to change the header? No more pre-schooler for you. I'm sure the kindergartner would be appalled if she knew.

  2. Family dinner at the table is one area we have always been rock solid consistent in. I am sure it has to do something with the fact that both cj and I grew up that way. We miss evie a lot now that she is swimming most nights over dinner and she misses it too. I think it is a great thing to concentrate on as a new habit for your family