Cardboard Cutout Family

The other day I was eating at an awesome breakfast joint when I noticed a family sitting at a table near me.  It was a family of six, complete with mom, dad, 2 boys, and 2 girls all of varying ages.  From the outside nothing too shocking there right?  Hang on, the odd part is about to happen. 

Right after the waitress took the orders, here is what everyone did:

Mom:    Picked up her magazine and began to read

Dad:     Picked up his book and began to read

Boy #1:  Put on his MP3 Player and headphones

Boy #2:  Played his PSP with earphones

Girl #1:  Texted on her phone

Girl #2:  Played a leapfrog game

There was ZERO interaction between anyone for the entire time they were at the restaurant including while they ate.  It was really, really sad to me.

To be fair, I’ll be the first to say there are different family dynamics, and not everyone has to go around the table and tell about there day at school, but this seemed all to routine and a bit much. 

Yes, at some point in the near future I’m sure someone will see my family out at a restaurant and write a blog about us.  But, I really hope it isn’t because we are literally not talking at all to each other.  I could see it being about a food fight breaking out that I may or may not have started, but a cardboard cutout dinner?  I hope not!

For me this was an eye opener and created a goal for me to not get to this point in my family. 

Perhaps for you this can be a chance to reevaluate your family interactions.  

Here may be a few things to think about:

  • Dads:  Does your cell phone sit with you at dinner?  (I’m guilty
  • Moms:  How often do you get up during the meal to get something or clean something up?
  • Parents:  Do your kids bring cell phones, MP3 Players, magazines, iPads, or plasma TVs to the table?
  • Husbands:  When you go out to dinner do you position yourself so you can see the TV in the bar? (Guilty again…crud.  Who writes these?)
  • Wives:  How many questions do you ask your husband that you don’t already know the answer too?

I really hope that my family one-day will be the kind that I can lean back at the dinner table and see all kinds of interaction going on.  The spiritual icing on the cake will be hearing about how God has been working in our different lives, but in order to get to that point I think I have to start early.  I have to start creating an environment in my home now where communication is encouraged and not stifled.  Even if that means putting the cell phone away or leaving a few messy dishes on the table while we talk. 

I sure hope you want this for your family too and the best part is I think this is one we all can do.

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