Poll: Do families eat meals the old fashioned way anymore?

I wonder how many families eat the old fashioned way.  You know, together, as a family at a table away from the distractions of technology.  I do with my family but I get the impression many, if not most, do not.  I don’t know why I think this, nor do I have evidence that it’s so.

When I was growing up with my mother and step-father until the age of 10 we ate meals at a kitchen or dining room table together.  No television was on, we sat at the table together.  It was rare that we didn’t eat dinner this way, it would have had to be a special occasion when other family or friends came to visit and we would mingle about the house.  However, at 10 years-old I moved in with my father whom my mother and he had been divorced for at least 8 years.  The dinner experience was much different.  It was in the living room in front of the television.  Granted it was a small apartment with no dining room and the living room was the only viable option — but the television didn’t need to be on.  We didn’t talk to one another either, we just watched.  It wasn’t until my father and step-mother bought a house that we began to eat at a table out of view of a television, but there was still no conversation and the food was eaten quickly.

My wife and I intentionally sit in the dining room with no television on.  We want our kids to look back on this time and remember this is what their family dinners were like.

But is this how most families eat dinner?  Do they sit together with no distractions of computers, iPods, televisions, or cell phones to keep their attention?  I don’t know.  I don’t even know how to know, so I’ll put it out there and ask you.  What do you think and why do you believe it’s so?


  1. We do on a regular basis as well.

  2. One night a few years ago I had the opportunity to have John Perkins and his daughter over for dinner with my family. Most people don’t know about Perkins, but he’s a pretty amazing guy. HE was in the thick of the civil rights movement in the 60’s, had a life changing encounter with God and has done some pretty significant stuff since.

    His current passion is to work with black teenaged boys and to mentor them out of the lifestyle that the black urban community seems to glorify right now.

    One of the things he talked about is how vitally important it is for our children (obviously he was emphasizing the black males he’s working with), to sit down with their entire family for dinner on a regular basis. This simple truth just blew me away. I was so struck by this that I went to the folks that design our houses and shared this with them in hopes that they would not sacrifice the dining room in the design process.

    I completely agree with Perkins on this, sharing family meals on a regular basis is an important building block of both our kids as well as our communities.

    FYI, I work for a non profit builder of affordable housing, which is why I think it is so important not to skip the dining space. It is a great example of how something that seemingly has little impact, can have a disproportionate ripple effect out into the family and the community.


  1. […] Do families eat meals the old fashioned way anymore? (siftingreality.com) […]

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