Vertical News: Family Mealtime Benefits

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Family Mealtime Benefits

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A 2012 British survey found that students who spent mealtimes with their families were apt to do better at school. The students, aged six to eleven, had improved concentration, more effective social skills, and tended to get into less trouble as they reached their teen years. However, family mealtimes, where all the family sat around the same table for the evening meal, had to occur at least four times a week for the positive benefits. 

Family meal times also produce a stable environment for teens to communicate the ups and downs of the adolescent years. Likewise, the example of good eating habits is built at shared meals. Despite so many benefits, less than a third of British families sit together at mealtimes (Pat Hagan, “Want Your Child to Do Well at School? Eat Dinners as a Family: Sitting Together at Meal Times Boosts Concentration and Social Skills,” The Daily Mail at DailyMail.co.uk, August 6, 2014).

Biblical precedent?

Shared family meals were a common occurrence in years past, but they have begun to fade as individual digital devices distract the family group from face-to-face communication. Eating together as a family may not seem to be a direct Biblical principle, but consider these interesting verses from the book of Psalms:

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD” (Psalms 128:3-4 Psalms 128:3-4 [3] Your wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of your house: your children like olive plants round about your table. [4] Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that fears the LORD.
American King James Version×
, NKJV, emphasis added).

In other sections of scripture shared meals, particularly at the yearly Holy Day festivals of God, are emphasized as a means of giving hospitality, of sharing a common bond, and of providing for those who are in need. What a fantastic, and delicious, way of building a stronger family!