They say the family that prays together stays together. I believe that.
Attending church services every Sunday as a family is essential. Praying before meals is essential. Saying one’s morning prayers – offering the day to God – is essential. Praying before bedtime is essential.
I’ve also felt the family that eats meals together stays together. Evening dinner at a regular time – preceded by the grace-before-meals – provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to build a family spirit – and to communicate Christian principles and values to their children. It also provides an opportunity for children to convey their experiences of the day and to ask questions that may be on their minds.
For example, a family could discuss the Ten Commandments – taking one each day. Where did they come from? Why were they provided? Why are they important?
Other topics could also be discussed – such as the “Our Father”, the Apostles Creed, the Mass or other religious services, Virtue, Sin, etc.
Meal time is also a good time to discuss the important issues of the day: American history, family history, the American-Way**, etc.
The Little Black Book that was handed out at many churches during the Lenten season offers good contemporary examples of brief scriptural verses and other Christian topics that could be discussed at mealtime.
What I’m suggesting here is that the evening dinner gathering should be more than simply stuffing one’s face and getting back to the TV set. When I grew up we ate dinner every evening at 6 o’clock, except on Sundays when we had a 2 o’clock dining room feast. Over the years we learned not only to appreciate good food but we discussed many interesting topics – perhaps a little less formally than I’m suggesting above. Religion was often part of our discussions as were American values.
Discussions often lingered for an hour or more, while the dishes were cleared, washed, and dried manually, and put away. Frankly I shall be eternally thankful that God gave me immigrant parents that valued Christian family life and values – and the American-Way**.
**The American-Way: Traditional Judeo/Christian principles and values . . . the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . freedom of speech, action, religion and family governance . . . an educated and informed society . . . freedom from gender and racial discrimination . . . affordable healthcare . . . the rule of Constitutional Law . . . the peaceful settlement of disputes . . . honest elections and presidential leadership . . . patriotic, truthful, checks-&-balanced, limited government . . . a strong military . . . cost-effective national defense . . . secure borders . . . the right of citizens to own and bear arms . . . free, competitive markets and institutions . . . properly-regulated, free-enterprise . . . balanced trade . . . private property rights . . . low cost, domestically supplied energy and natural resources . . . individual responsibility . . . controlled immigration . . . entrepreneurialism . . . a strong work ethic . . . full employment . . . fair pay . . . appropriate safety nets . . . low taxes . . . a strong, reliable currency . . . financial availability, mobility, and responsibility (balanced budget, minimal debt) . . . Competitive, Free-Market, Free-Enterprise, Constitutionally Limited Government . . . and American Exceptionalism.
In God we must trust . . . but we must always do our part to secure the truth – to protect our freedom and interests – and to defend the American-Way.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.vote29.com/newmyblog/archives/42697