I grew up where eating together as a family was important. We ate family style at the kitchen table together everynight. As the kids got older, kids came and went and dinner was sometimes late. But there was always a dinner at the table for whoever was there at 6:00 p.m.
I think it is important to continue to eat at the kitchen table together as a family every night. I must admit that I have not done a good job at it. Monday through Thursday, it is usually just the kids and me. On the weekends we tend to go out to dinner. So I have slacked and I let Laci eat at her little table watching TV. Calvin and I eat together at the table. I feel bad about letting Laci eat while watching TV but we are all eating together and she is sitting at a table. I feel like it is hard to enforce the family table when one fourth of the family isn't there. Laci knows that if Daddy is home, we all eat together - no exceptions.
Today, the kids and I went to a friends house for dinner. Her husband was gone tonight. She has a daughter two years older than Laci and a son Calvin's age so the kids play well together. They do not have a kitchen table. They got rid of it and the space where a kitchen table should be has a toy basketball hoop and a potty chair. They still have a dining room and a table.
We got pizza and when the pizza came, my kids instinctively went to the dining room table. I was proud inside. My friend looked over and said "oh, I guess we could eat at the table. We never do that." She got out plates and said "Oh, we'll even use plates." Not eat at a table? Not use plates? I know a lot of people eat while watching TV. Not a big deal. But with kids, how to you teach manners? How do you teach using a knife and fork on a lap? How do you eat on a small child's lap?
I still feel guilty for not eating as a family at the kitchen table every night. But I am proud of my kids for knowing how to behave and where a dinner together belongs.