The Norman Rockwell family gathered around the table is an image many know. The whole family happily gathered together in anticipation of a shared meal. In the essay, “The Magic of the Family Meal”, Nancy Gibbs talks about this dying tradition of sitting down with the family to share in a meal. Life is constantly happening around us and sometimes we don’t take the time to sit and enjoy the company of our family, the bonds it can create, and the benefit it can have on children. Sitting down to these meals not only strengthens connections, but helps shape our youth to be productive members of society.
The picture painted of today’s family during dinner time would be a different image. The introduction of microwaves and fast food has changed the way a nation feeds its families. Commercials of families sitting down smiling at each other over large over sized buckets of fried chicken are played over and over, and far too often this is the case. Nancy Gibbs talks about the ideal of family dinner but not necessarily the quality of it, “just because we eat together does not mean we eat right: Domino’s alone delivers a million pizzas on an average day” (209). This society has painted an image that the proper Family Dinner should only be seated at the table and a healthy meal of vegetables heaped in on the table. Fortunately Gibbs states, it is so much more, “Yet for all that, there is something about a shared meal—not some holiday blowout, not once in a while but regularly, reliably—that anchors a family even on nights when the food is fast and the talk cheap and everyone has someplace else they’d rather be. And on those evenings when the mood is right and the family lingers, caught up in an idea or an argument explored on a shared safe place where no one is stupid or shy or ashamed, you get a glimpse of the power of this habit and why social scientists say such communion acts as a kind of vaccine, protecting kids from all manner of harm” (209)....
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