By Chris S.
Growing up, we knew it was time to sit down together as a family as soon as my dad came home from work. It was a special time for me. I felt like I mattered to my parents because there were no other distractions. I decided that when I got married and started my own family someday, family dinner would be the standard.
I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or a Mormon, shortly after high school. One of the things that appealed to me the most was the importance of families. That, of course, is not unique to the Mormon faith. Family is important to Christians and non-Christians alike. What is different is the gospel principle of eternal families. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ promises that families can be together not just in this life, but for eternity when marriage between a man and a woman is performed by one holding the proper priesthood authority to do so in a temple. My wife and I will soon celebrate fourteen years of marriage. Four active sons keep us busy.
Elder Richard C. Maynes taught, “We understand and believe in the eternal nature of the family. This understanding and belief should inspire us to do everything in our power to establish a Christ-centered home” (Establishing a Christ-Centered Home). These days, traditional marriage and family are under attack. While raising a family isn’t always easy, we have found that things go better when we focus on what’s important: prayer, regular church attendance, and yes, eating dinner together. We carefully protect our schedules so that we have time for one another. We share household chores and play together. By centering our home on Christ, teaching our children about their relation to God, and focusing on faith-building activities, our family has been blessed. There is less arguing, a greater peace is felt, and stronger bonds are built when we are doing those things.
Now back to the dinner table. While it may simply be a piece of furniture, it’s the place where loving relationships are fostered in our family, support is given, and our children feel safe and heard. When it’s time for dinner, we put the gadgets away, we don’t answer the phone, and we focus on each other. We talk about our day and our kids tell jokes. Sometimes noses turn up because “vegetables are gross.” To some, that might seem a little too Ward and June Cleaver for our modern day. However, I’ve never regretted having a traditional marriage and choosing to raise a family. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than with my family. Pass the potatoes, please.