Evening at the restaurant.
On the right a child eats pasta in front of a smartphone, leaning against the bread basket; on the left a couple consume their portion of fish with their heads down, while their teenage daughter eats pizza and watches her mobile phone all the time; behind, three children are gathered around a tablet, absorbed, enchanted, as if the outside world no longer existed, and in front of me there is my husband, to whom I discreetly point out what I see (I do not want to meddle in other people's tables, it's just a professional deformation, since I deal with communication and family) but I say: "Please promise me that we will never end like this! At the table a family should stay together..."
Hence, the idea of thinking with you about the importance of conviviality at the table and how to revive it, to avoid that meals are reduced to a mere consumption of food and technology.
Below, I will offer only a few ideas, some practical tips to ensure that our lunches or dinners remain precious moments and opportunities to be together.
1. Try to put away what takes you away from the others
I know it sounds incredible, but it seems that people are able to eat even without holding a mobile phone in their hands. They are also able to do so even with the television off and away from a tablet. Can't you believe it? Well, then try it.
If everybody has been eating on his own during your meals for a while now, try to put away any device that can distract you from the people who physically are next to you. Try to focus on who is sitting beside you: your husband, wife, son or daughter. Realizing that you are "together" is the first step to "being together".
2. Show interest in others
Once you turn off your electronic devices, you will probably find out that the world continues to exist.
If you are at the table with your husband, wife or children, you might start talking, asking questions and telling yourself how you are,what you did that morning or that afternoon, if you have any problems, if you are happy or worried about something.
Tell yourself anecdotes, share what happens to you with your family members.
Table time is a unique time of day , when we stop for a while carrying out our activities and we find ourselves with family members. Let's use this time off to disconnect from everything and connect with those we love. Simply "talking" in front of a hot plate is a great way to keep our relationships alive.
3. Look into each other’s eyes
Affection does not only pass through words: it is communicated in many ways, with gestures, with hugs. Sometimes you just have to look into each other’s eyes. There will not always be "something to say" and then we do not necessarily have to avoid the silence, what a matter is that behind the silence there is no hidden indifference. Silence can either make us distant from one another or it can be enjoyed together. Even at the table, don’t avoid looking into the eyes of those who you love, to simply share the same moment.
4. Stimulate children's sharing
The children’s vitality and imagination should be considered "World Heritage". One of the saddest things you can see are dull children, "sedated" by cartoons or simply left aside by adults who do not want to involve them, to enter their world. Let your meals be invaded by the vitality of children: let them express themselves, ask them questions, show interest in what they think. You will discover that a table where children can talk, tell, laugh, makes the atmosphere more cheerful, the problems more bearable, and above all, it will grow empathic adults, capable of being really together with others.
5. Look for your own way to feel good at the table
Each family has its own "character", its own peculiarities that makes it a unique and unrepeatable universe. Find your games, your activities related to the table (cooking together or alternately the other’s favourite meal, tell the others a funny thing that happened during the day, find a reason to say "thank you" on that day, etc.).
What matters is that the mealtime reflects the soul of your family. Here then is our last advice: have fun!
And how do you value family meals? If you want, write it down in the comments... we could draw inspiration for a future article!