Dinners with a purpose

It is most certainly true that time flies.

It seems like just a moment ago that my wife and I were changing diapers.  I remember like it was yesterday running alongside my daughter as she biked without training wheels for the first time.  And yes it is imprinted on my mind the moment my son scored his first soccer goal.  I blink and she is in high school.  I shake my head because she is thinking about driver’s ed.  And gone are the days of elementary school as my son enters middle school in a few months.

It is crazy to think of the passage of time.

As the days turn into years my wife and I have commented how precious each day is with our kids.  We know that there will soon be a day when we wake up to a much quieter house.  So we have begun to cherish the family outings, the quirky games, and the spontaneous conversations.  Each moment is now significant to us.

One of the moments in our day we will miss the most is dinner.  Our dinners are always an adventure.  There are days where we laugh at some video we saw on YouTube.   Or, my son will make some comment that tickles him and he will begin to laugh uncontrollably causing the whole family to roar in stitches.  Other times we will share about our day.  We try to push beyond the mundane to find out some highlights of the day for each of our kids.  My wife has begun to ask the question of each of them, “At what point during the day did you feel like you were most yourself?”  This question always reveals some new qualities of our kids that we were unaware of.  Or, we begin to discuss some scientific fact Ryan has recently read or current event that is on the news.  These conversations are oftentimes the most rich because we begin to discuss the various sides of it.  With the political season in full bloom, we have had numerous discussions on immigration, gun control, women’s equal pay, and same-sex marriage.  Our policy at dinner is that everyone’s opinion matters.  You are welcome to share what you think about each topic.  At times, it has led to some spirited debates about each of these issues.  I personally love these back and forth moments.

In the midst of these discussions, we intentionally share what we see as the Christian factors that inform these issues.  As believers, it is essential that we analyze women’s equal pay from a biblical perspective.  Or, what would Jesus say about immigration?  How do we grapple with cultural sensitivity about sexuality yet remain faithful to God’s standards?  For us, these discussions are not simply opinion-centered moments to fill the time but rather opportunities to shape worldview in our kids.

Our time is limited.  Soon we will not have the proximity to share with them on a daily basis.  It will be their college roommates, professors, and textbooks who daily influence them.  This is why I take full advantage of these moments.  It is why we view dinners with a purpose – a time to connect, laugh, and think about life.

Yes, we will miss these moments.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

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