Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sharing Holiday Meals

I suppose as some point in our lives, the inevitable happens. You see, it all starts the same for us. We are born. Then a holiday meal comes, and we go into a high-chair. We stay in the high-chair, especially at holiday meals, until we are capable of sitting in a chair without tumbling out. Let’s be honest; no one wants to have babies tumbling out everywhere. It just wouldn’t look good with a big ole turkey on the table and a toddler on the floor.
Then at roughly three or four years old, we move to the “Kids Table”. Ok, first, who thought that idea up? I mean really. Are children second class citizens? Are children so intolerable that we have to banish them to a different part of the house, or the “other side of the diningroom”, at the very least? Did someone decide that it was easier to hide the kids away than it was to teach them proper table manners and good conversation skills? Frankly, aren’t we supposed to be raising future adults?
And second, why are any of us perpetuating the very existence of the darned kids table??? Didn’t you just hate being tucked away from your parents? Didn’t you and your cousins long to sit near your grandma in the hopes she would sneak you her dessert? Or maybe you wanted to sit next to grandpa to score some pocket change. It really is ok for us to stop this generations old tradition now.
There’s really no reason for our children to be seated apart from us. Surely we eat with our immediate families everynight. Those are the times when our children are watching us, as we model appropriate dinner table behavior. A holiday dinner should be a joyous time for the entire extended family to share in love, family, and food. And if seating is the issue, simply split adults with children at each table. But the ideal scenario is to have everyone at one long table, even if it is a little cramped. Remember that the holiday meals are going to be remembered. No one cares if they have to squeeze around the table; people want to be with their loved ones-children included.
And for the those of us who simply must continue this way of dining, I do hope you’ll consider keeping the little ones as close to you as possible. They are learning how to treat their own children by watching their parents.

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