I was born Jewish. We practiced Judaism as a family until my father’s death in 1983. I have spent time in many synagogues and churches over the years, I am always willing to experience something new. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but more of a spiritual person. I married into a Southern Baptist family, it was quite a culture shock. It was not normal practice for me to pray at meal times, it was something I had to get used to doing. Almost a decade later we still pray at meal time. I actually like it now, and so do my kids.
Over the last few years my children have been very interested in praying before dinner. I think it is a great practice to put into place.
Here’s what I know about praying before a meal with your kids.
Teaching your kids gratitude is crucial. We live in a very hectic world, we need to slow down. Teaching gratitude for all the things we have in our lives is an invaluable lesson, one your kids will never forget.
My kids say meal prayers like this.
Thank you for the sun, thank you for the farmers who grew the food, thank you for hats, thank you for my brother, thank you for money, thank you for mommy and daddy, thank you for friends, thank you for family.
It’s such a great practice that my kids are really serious about.
I believe that stopping before we put the food in our mouths helps set the tone for our meal. Let’s stop and acknowledge the people who sit with us, acknowledge our food, take a minute to settle in, and then move on to a peaceful and enjoyable meal.
The culture today is eat fast, drive fast, talk fast, and get to where your going fast. Meal time is something really special. We should help our children see that showing gratitude for your plate is a way to slow down and really see what is in front of them.
We also want to teach our children gratitude for all the food they eat. Children need to know where food comes from. My kids know because we raise our own chickens, turkeys and have a large garden, but so many children don’t know. Not all kids live on farms. We can help all of our kids understand that food doesn’t come from the grocery store. We can teach our children to thank the farmers who grow the vegetables or the dairy cows. We can thank the sun for shining so the food grows. We can thank the animals who gave their life(if you are meat eaters). I know this sounds airy fairy to some of you, but it works.
We need to understand the impact that producing food has on our planet. Children today need to know how hard it truly is to produce the food they eat. Let’s teach gratitude for that food, and hey, maybe they can even start to learn that mommy and daddy work really hard to give them that nourishing meal.
We started a new rule in my house, meal times are a quiet time for us to sit and be together as a family. We can’t always be together to eat as a unit, but when we do, it is family time. There is no television on, no music playing, and no electronics at the table. Yes, that means mom and dad put their phones down too! I keep candles lit nearby and we are learning how to listen to each other. We all take turns talking about our day, and we don’t interrupt the person who is talking. You think to set the mood when your on a date, well set the mood for your family, they are just as special.
Take back meal time as a special time. Slow down. Chew your food. Show your gratitude for your loved ones and the food on your plate.