Have you experienced a family dinner when it seems like the kids are more thankful for their phones than their family? With kids glued to their apps, screens, texts, and videos, we’ve finally reached the modern equivalent of that age-old parenting adage, “Be seen but not heard.” Now our kids are both not seen and not heard. Is that what we want for the dinner table? Is that the family tradition we want to leave them?
In our 24/7 world where everything is so convenient, so easy, and so very quick, traditions are not fast. They do not change overnight and for good reason. They provide history to our lives and memories that bind families together. Traditions are also a vital part of our legacy to our children. In my inspirational book, The Legacy Letters, I realized that legacy is not what you leave behind but how you live in the moment. Here are two simple but powerful ways to start living this “legacy life” at that most timeless of traditions—the family dinner table.
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How to Get Your “i-Kids” Back to the Family Dinner Table
First, let’s start with the “gift of participation.” Let your kids “get in the way!” Here are some great dinner table ideas: let them help make the family mac n’ cheese or meatloaf, or let them find a simple desert to make all on their own. Have them prep the food, cook, and set the table. Have ALL the kids involved. That’s the beauty of peer pressure and it works. (And it keeps the moans and groans to a minimum.) Of course, no dinner table tradition would be complete without the kids washing the dishes because that’s what you did as a kid.
Second, create what I call an “e-Free” zone and let the kids—and adults— know where and when that is. The dinner table is absolutely an “e-Free” zone. Nothing that emits electrons near your food. No cell phones or TV (yes, and that means the football game). If you want to create an “e-Free” zone on your traditional after-dinner walk, then do. The “e-Free” zone is a technology time out—and can definitely be extended to other parts of your life and the life of your kids!
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This gift of participation—is truly a legacy gift. It’s so easy for kids to reap only the rewards of the dinner table. But easy isn’t always better. Some things, like creating traditions, are anything but easy and quick. And that’s a good thing.
Guest Post By Carew Papritz:
Carew Papritz, also known as The Cowboy Philosopher, is the author of the multi-award winning inspirational book “The Legacy Letters.” This best-selling author left his career as a filmmaker in Hollywood, and returning to his ranching roots, worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in the Southwest where he began writing his book. “The Legacy Letters,” though fictional, has also won acclaim as a life lessons book for all generations, gaining the distinction of being the only book in publishing history to win awards in both fiction and non-fiction categories. A Renaissance Man in an age that lauds the specialist, The Huffington Post says Papritz “intrigues and enlightens, charms and catalyzes change for every reader.”
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