The family dinner all together is the most important moment of the day. We have to work really hard to ensure that we always have dinner together every day. Undoubtedly, there are many factors that will make it difficult for this to happen: in our home neither cell phones nor TVs are invited to supper. Only us! Friends are also always welcome, because when there is enough food for 15, there is enough for 20. Recently, my daughters told me they wanted to start taking boxing classes that happened to be right at dinner time, so we decided it would be better not to. Of course they’re welcome to do it before or after dinner. Dinner in our family is “sacred”: it is the only moment in which we are all together, because for other meals some have to eat at work or at school or with friends. In our family, everyone cares about what happens with the other siblings in school each day. Their friends are our friends. Their worries, their dreams, even their projects are topics of discussion to better understand and support each other. If someone has a problem we all make sure to work together to solve it. In large families the joys are multiplied and the difficulties are shared.
It’s true that when there are so many at one table, maybe one will tend to dominate the conversation and the smaller kids will be left without their turn to speak. For this reason we have Mom and Dad to make sure that each child has their moment to share something about their day. We have to leave our comfort zone and bring with us interesting topics to share at the table. We can talk about politics, economics, interesting books, exhibitions, soccer, or current news… It’s helpful for the parents to give some sort of criteria for them to think of a topic. If it helps, I’ll think of some topic while working that would be interesting for them to discuss and perhaps learn more about after. I might even make a list of topics on my way home so that we can cover them at dinner.
It’s important that everyone enjoys the family dinner and we share many laughs. I remember one time Pepa said to me at dinner, “Mom, don’t start discussing because I have to go to the bathroom and it’s not fair if I come back and you’re all laughing at something and I’m not included…”
At home we simplify things by having a large round table, because if we had a long table, the kids sitting across from each other might just talk back and forth. Pass me the salt, pass me the water, pass me the oil. We like to keep a single conversation because we all care about what happened to Tomas at school and Perico at work.