Thursday, September 28, 2006

Come and Dine... 

On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Enquirer published a strong editorial regarding the efficacy of the "family meal". It points out, for instance
Columbia University's Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has been reporting since 2003 that teens whose families eat meals together are much less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, and more likely to get good grades in school.
. . .Other studies have shown teens whose families eat meals together get in fewer fights, start sexual activity later, are less depressed, develop fewer eating disorders and practice better nutrition.
They caution
Eating together is no silver bullet. But it can make a huge difference if parents show a genuine interest in their children's daily lives, know their teachers' names, know the parents of their teens' friends.
and they also say that parents must make it a priority to have a family meal together in order for it to "succeed" or "work".
I agree wholeheartedly with this editorial. The problems of crime and drugs that have plagued many cities for many years can be curtailed if parents are willing to stay together and to be heavily involved with their children's lives.

There is one question I would raise and one statement that could have been added to the editorial. First, do the studies cited have any findings about "traditional" versus "non-traditional" families? I would speculate that "non-traditional" or "alternative" family "arrangements" would undercut some of the usefulness of the family meal. The other point I would add is that it is true that a wholesome family meal and atmosphere does have its virtues, the ultimate source of peace and safety can only be found in Christ and Him alone.

It is with admiration and shame that I have seen and witnessed elders at my church conduct family devotions and catechism of their children at the dinner table and to great effect, as far as I can tell. I need to be more consistent in this vital regard. Cultural and societal renewal cannot come about unless my children know Christ and Him crucified and essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Anything short is just that: short. Let us come together and have fellowship over good food and good company.

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