“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” playing in the background, family laughing and joking, the smell of mac & cheese, honey-glazed ham, oven roasted chicken, and cheesy lasagna filling your nose with its beautiful aromas and the atmosphere filled with holiday spirit. Now imagine experiencing this every night.
Picture being able to enjoy a beautiful home cooked meal, connecting with your loved ones, having a positive vibe and leaving the stress of the world at the door. Why can’t we experience this every night? Is it due to us being too busy? Or do we choose only to gather together on special occasions?
“Leave it to beaver”and “Father knows best”, shows in the 1950s, emphasized the importance of family dinners and a nuclear family. The dining room was a place where a family could be a family; was gathered together enjoying a home cooked meal. With the parents sitting at both ends of the table. This family dynamic didn’t only happen in the 50s but also in the late 70s and 80s. In the late 70s and 80s, family dinners were a must in the household especially black households. “Good Times”, a show in the 70s, showed a family gathering together around the kitchen table. No matter what the family went through, if it be racism, finding ways to pay rent, stress at school or work, they would come together, say grace and leave the stress of the world at the door.
In the 80s, my mother also had the same family dynamic as the Evans family. She remembered coming home from school with her brother and sister, doing their homework before supper, and coming together around the dining table to eat as a family. She will always cherish those memories because they were special moments she spent with her family.
According to sociologist, James H.S. Bassard believed that “it is at the dining table, and particularly at dinner time, that the family is opt to be at its greatest ease.” Family dinners were safe places away from the stress of the world and where one can speak freely with family members. As time passes and traditions change, family dinners become a thing of the past and only happens on the holidays. With everyone on social media and phones being the most important things in our daily lives, putting the phones down and having family dinners can reduce depression and anxiety.
By having a face to face communication with a loved one, it can create a strong emotional support environment and not only that, make a child and teenager feel comfortable to approach their parents with problems in their lives. My mom has enforced this type of mannerism to my sisters and I as well. When we would come together at the dinner table to eat, my mother would tell us to put the phones or games away and enjoy this time together. This has allowed me to appreciate these moments not only on thanksgiving but every time we gather around the dining table to eat as a
Written By Brittany Thompson
Brittany Thompson is currently serving as a Set The Table Fellow for the 2020-2021 school year. " Set The Table aims to offer students personal and professional development along with hands on work experience through The Dinner Table's communications department. Assignments are usually in specific areas like social media, marketing and digital content production.