New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Family Dinner Time

In Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food,  he says that "culture is another word for mom,”.  This phrase has struck me since I read it.  I started thinking about experiences I've had where I felt like I am defining my children's culture.  The times that I think of most are our family dinner time.

It takes me about 10-15m just to even get everyone around the table.  We start by getting maybe three, then I go off in search of the other two kids.  By the time I get them there, the other three have mysteriously disappeared and I wonder to myself why this always looks so easy when someone else is trying to gather their kids.  It is food for goodness sakes.  You'd think they would want to eat.  

Then my daughter walks in and I get the inevitable, "This looks disgusting mom".  So I need to chastise her for criticizing someone else's food and tell her that it's really not good manners to talk that way.  Then two of my sons coming in hitting each other, so one gets sent to time-out while the other sits down to eat(yes!  I've got one).  Two other little boys sit down and start banging their dishes again, so I once again I have to go into a lecture about good table manners and how banging dishes is not a part of that.  (I really need to have a sit down with all my kids on that one).  Finally my older boy comes out of time out and here we are, at the table.  My daughter is plugging her nose, I've got one boy that's just mad at the world, two that trying to see who can be the loudest, and one that brought his car to the table(yet another talk about table manners).

Then the fun begins...and I really mean that:)  We tell jokes, we talk about our days, we bemoan our problems.  Okay and my daughter is still discussing the fact that this food makes her want to throw up, and I tell her that she does not get desert.  

So what does all this have to do with culture and our influence over it.  When I started thinking about it I realized that our family dinner is teaching them a lot about how we expect them to behave(or not behave).  First off, time with family is important.  So important that we really work to make sure that nothing else is going on between 6-7 at night.  Second, I serve good food...that's important too. My kids understand that in order to keep our bodies healthy, we eat the right kinds of foods.  That's reiterated at dinner.  Of course, pea-shooting happens more often than actually eating them, but at least they get the message.

This also allows us a time to teach good manners that I hope someday will sink in:)  In any case, this is a good place to learn it.  We also have to learn how to treat each other and how to be respectful.  All these things transfer over into how they view the world around us.

I'm sure there are many other things that my kids pick up during that time together, and that's just a small sample.  As hard as this times are sometimes, it helps to remember that these experiences are what helps to then define the culture around us.

For those interested here's an interesting look at family dinner time.

1 comment:

Enjoy Birth said...

I am so glad my dinner time is not the only one that looks like that! :)

I also have one who hates everything I cook.

Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.