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The Red Plate
The Red Plate

When our oldest daughter (now 30) was a senior in high school, her teacher asked the class what they would miss most going off to college. She said it would be eating dinner every night with her family. Her teacher was astonished and asked the class how many ate dinner with their family. Very few did!  The teacher even asked my husband and me if this was true and we assured him it was!

Fifteen years ago, our family was profiled in the newspaper as a family who eats dinner together. Why this is newsworthy still amazes me. They came and photographed us, like we were animals in a zoo! Our 4 children, including a set of triplets, thought it was very odd that eating dinner together should be considered interesting as it was all they had ever known.

I know those dinners did a lot to cement our family. When someone achieved something noteworthy, they had their dinner on the "Red Plate" emblazed with the words "You are Special today". Dinner was fun! We teased each other, laughed and heard all about the activities or trials of the day. I believe this is why, even now, as empty-nesters, with kids scattered around the country, they still are so close to us and each other. That time around the dinner table was the best time of our parenting and it didn't matter whether it was grilled salmon or grilled cheese. It was just being together.

Mary Anne
Tags: Motherhood-Fatherhood, Parenting, Social Issues, Teens
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