Back in the old days we had family dinners. On Sundays Baby Boomers would sit down to a hearty three-course meal. The meals that stood out the most were the roast beef, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and homemade rolls. I had to snap the beans and my father would mash the potatoes because he could really handle that potato masher.
Some days we would have pork chops and fried apples or ham and au gratin potatoes and peas. A salad was part of the meal and back then my favorite dressing was French or daddy would make a dressing out of Miracle Whip and a little sugar. He would then mix that with the lettuce, tomato and cucumber. My mom loved to make Jell-O molds for dessert. We each had an assigned seat at the dining room table. To this day when I go to my mother’s house I sit in my same seat.
I think that family dinners are very important and the lack of them is having a large impact on our youthful population. Prior to the dinner the food has to be prepared. This is a great opportunity for young men and ladies to learn how to cook. Please learn how to boil an egg, fry a piece of chicken, and learn how to “tuck a chicken wing.” I met a young lady who threw the chicken wings in the grease with all of the wings pointing towards the ceiling, she had no idea that you had to burn the hair off and tuck the wings.
We learned how to set the table, where the napkin should be placed along with the fork, knife, spoon and glass. Today a lot of family dinners consist of grabbing something and placing it in the microwave and taking it to your room.
If your family consists of mother and son, father and daughter or both parents and children, they should sit down several times a week and see what is going on with each other. Parents, this is the time for you to see if your 14-year-old daughter has tattoos on her neck and maybe her eyebrow pierced. Maybe she is five months pregnant and you don’t know. Look your kids in the eye, see what their pupils look like, are their eyes bloodshot? Are they wearing clothes that you know they cannot afford without a job? Do they take all of their cell phone calls away from the table so you can’t hear them and then run out the door? Don’t bury your head in the sand. See what your kids are up to. Sit them down and have a nice meal and get in their business. This is a good time to find out what their goals are and take a look at their grades and attendance records.
I always find it amazing when I talk to someone and ask them about another member of their family and they don’t know things like their birth date or how old they are.
It has been reported that a weekly family dinner can prevent your child from smoking, using drugs and alcohol. Go out and grab a rotisserie chicken, some Hawaiian rolls and some Grandma’s Potato Salad. Fake it until you can make that family dinner.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)