There’s something about gathering around a meal.
A simple pleasure. The final part when we’re altogether enjoying a meal, enjoying the warmth of each others company. With picky eaters and family schedules that meal maybe breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or one special evening a week.
It’s a time of coming together.
In many homes, gathering around meals is around a table with us all facing each other. Although these days we can all be in the same house eating meals but at different times according to our schedules. Finding the opportunity to sit side by side and visit is a big problem in many of our families. It’s finding the time and it’s what happens when we do. What do you say to each other? Can you be pleasant? You start to notice table manners.
With everyone enjoying their food and in good spirits it’s the ideal time to gather the family together for a family roundtable.
What is a Family Roundtable?
Family Roundtable: Meeting of the family to share and discuss the ups and downs of family where everyone has a voice and our family truths are reinforced. A time and place for celebrations and acknowledgements. Sweet treats and fun activities. Not a season of whinning
Apart from a time to share what’s happened during the day or recently family time together at the table is a good way of sharing what’s going to happen in the future and gather family opinion on upcoming events.
Before each session that happens once a month or so everyone has the chance to bring to the table problems and things they have noticed. Along with positive things to celebrate. We have a chart on the fridge.
Why a Family Roundtable?
Many of the squabbles we have in our homes are petty things that don’t get a chance to be aired and everyone listened to. How you fill the trash can and what you do when the bag slips down really wasn’t a big deal to me. But it was to those in the family who had to empty the bin. There were a few people who didn’t check when they pitched into the trash.
As a result when you took out the bag you had to take out the complete bin and wash it down. Effectively doubling the contribution and making him unhappy.
Seems petty and annoying but from his point of view he’d told the culprits and it made him get all crazy about a trash bag and how we fill a bin.
Fill a bin! One day recently he placed it on our Family Roundtable worksheet as a point to raise in the gathering.
Impact of the Family Roundtable
After we listened and silenced the rolling eyes, everyone was better at doing the trash. This niggle that had been building for weeks was finally out and squashed. We refer back to the agreement. It’s here the boys got a taste of empathy for each other. Because for one son it was the trash bag and mess that he wanted to talk about. Another son wanted to talk about breaking up of his LEGO sets and another wanted to know when he would be getting pocket money. They got a voice. Here was the time.
If you want to know more about family roundtables, check out the Creating a family haven online course. The next one starts in 2014. I walk you step by step through creating a family roundtable for your young family. Sign up to keep in touch.
Conversation: How can we gather together as a family to share our highs and lows? share our visions? opinions? upcoming events? Is the communication mostly adult to child and not back and forth?
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