I would like to pose the questions, what defines a quality dinner? Is it the people you eat with, the food you eat or the location?
Lately, our family has been having dinner in front of our TV. The rather large cast, my son had been sporting for the past 3 weeks, made it rather difficult for him to sit in a conventional chair, so the dinner table has not been an option.
Because my son needed to keep his foot elevated and has been on the sofa, we decided to bring our nightly meal from the table into the family room. I am a traditionalist and enjoy sitting around the table, passing food, sharing events from the day (along with stories) and giving thanks for all we have. For me, this new routine has been difficult.
The boys love to eat in the family room because they can watch a show we have recorded from a previous night. Their preference is a sitcom but I prefer Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, the History Channel or Discovery. Needless to say, my requests do not get top billing. I feel if we are entering TV land while we eat, we should be watching a show we can learn from and talk about as a family, not a sitcom or drama where every time I go to talk I get "SHH!" It's still our family dinner and I like to have conversation about our day. I prefer to mute the commercials so we can talk, but no, we have to fast forward because everyone seems to be in a hurry when we're in front of the TV. If I try to talk while fast forwarding, I still get "SHH!" thrown my way. I feel like I'm dining with Dr. Evil who's the ultimate SHHer, but I think if my boys were to SHH Dr. Evil, he'd even stop talking!
I know a lot of married couples (where the children have left the nest) who eat in front of the television. Ronald and Nancy Regan even ate on tray's, in comfy chairs, during their reign in the White House. I'm sure there are lots of people who partake in this activity. Once TV tray tables were introduced and entered the home, it became chic to eat in front of the TV. I have to say this, I'm sure the 4 TV tray tables my mother purchased were for us sick kids to eat on when we couldn't get out of bed. Growing up, we were never allowed to eat in front of the TV.
If I look at it with an open mind and throw my conventional thoughts out the window, a quality dinner comes down to two things; the food you eat and who you dine with. The location really doesn't matter. So, I'll cave in to having family dinners away from the table for a bit longer, but my boys will have to realize I'm not going to stop talking during their favorite shows and if they SHH me, I'll just have to SHH them back!