Eating together as a family is more important today than in the past because there are more competing distractions, more choices of activities outside the home, and a constant bombardment of information from modern technology. Even when everyone is home, individuals do their own thing. Perhaps the only opportunity of the day to talk with each other is at the dinner table. Here at Murphy’s Diner, a friendly American diner in Manchester, NH, we believe that eating family meals together is still very important in today’s busy and technology driven world.
While our smart phones and devices have brought us closer to the rest of humanity, it is the family meal that brings us closer to our own clan. The fabric of family is woven by shared experiences and time spent together. Being together daily at the table is an important chance to celebrate being a family: by staying in touch, learning about family culture, food, and practicing the social skills of dining and conversation. Family meals are for nourishment, comfort and support.
It’s a pity that so many Americans are missing out on what could be meaningful time with their loved ones, but it’s even more than that. Not eating together also has quantifiably negative effects both physically and psychologically. There are two big reasons for these negative effects associated with not eating meals together: the first is simply that when we eat out—especially at the inexpensive fast food and take-out places that most children go to when not eating with their family—we tend not to eat very healthy things. The other reason? Eating alone can be alienating. The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day.