My role as a Home Economics-Family and Consumer Science educator in Christian institutions for the majority of my professional career provides me with a wonderful opportunity to work with young women desiring to learn to practice the Titus 2:3-5 mandate. The mentoring relationship we establish allows me to know them in at a more intimate level than a normal college/seminary profesor. As we study and acquire skills together they often share that they frequently felt that they were “ministry orphans.” Moms extended hospitality to a variety of individuals and frequently prepared yummy food items to be shared at other events. Having done so the family was left with a quick meal through the fast-food restaurant, a sandwich hastily constructed then eaten “on the run,” or a plate of macaroni and cheese made from a box—again.
My heart is always saddened because women choosing this management strategy communicate a strong message to their family that they are more focused on “looking well to the needs of others” rather than following the prototype of Proverbs 31:27 who first “looked well to the ways of her household” and then “opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov. 31:20).
The Gift of Family Hospitality
Are you looking for a great stocking stuffer? Consider creating an attractive invitation for each member of your family that allows them to request a “company dinner” prepared especially for them. We often do this for birthdays or other mile-stone days. But for this year allow them to select a non-celebration day and request a menu of their liking. You might consider including some guidelines to the meal such as:
- Length of notice you will need for the request.
- Who is included? Is it a mother-daughter meal or is the entire family invited?
- Requested menu. If there are time or financial constraints be sure to mention them. For example, lobster flow in from Australia might be a bit above the family budget.
- No double-booking. Our entire process of eating is surrounded by too much stress. Plan a window of time that belongs exclusively to that person.
- Restrict the technology. The TV, computer, and any other technology should be turned off completely and removed from the environment during the meal.
- Clean-up is “on the cook.” Allow the guest to have the privilege of a “work free” meal.
- Any follow-up activities for the meal. Is there time for fellowship, games, or a walk together after the meal?
The Benefit of Family Hospitality
Simply stated, meal-time is the most reliable time for individuals to connect. Meals shared together removes us from the drill of the day and can be a bridge builder for conversations that might not otherwise happen. A study of the Scriptures reveal the methods God used food in special ways to carry out His will and show His grace:
- Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain and found Joseph (Gen. 42-45).
- Abraham and Sarah made a meal for strangers, and so entertained angels (Gen. 18)
- When the Israelites were sent to spy out the land, they returned with reports of food (Num. 13:27).
- The birds fed Elijah (1Kings 7:1-7).
- All Christians are invited guests to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Rev.19:1-10).
Each of these statements provide a springboard for conversation during the meal and are a reminder that our gracious heavenly Father placed the need for food consumption in our lives for more reasons than the acquisition of nutrients. Mark 6 is a clear reminder to me of the importance of “coming away to a quiet place and resting.” (Mark 6:31). Meal times should be pleasant, relaxing time, not a timed race.
Numerous documented benefits of family meals include lower rates of depression, substance abuse and stress, higher achievement scores, a more positive outlook on life, and increased family relations. My professional organization, The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (www.aafcs.org), in 2014 acted on the research findings of more than 100 scientific studies, and declared December 3 “Dining in” for healthy family day. The date was chosen because it is the birth date of the profession’s founder Ellen Swallow Richards. The more than 100,000 2014 participants committed to preparing and eating a healthy meal together on that date. This year the Association hopes to double its number of participants. Perhaps you would be willing to be a part of the event.
As this blog post concludes may I pose a question for you to ponder? Since research reports the many benefits of regular family meals, why is it so difficult to carve out time for it? Will you choose to be counter cultural this holiday season, follow the Wise Woman’s role model found in Proverbs 31: 15 and 27, and give your family the gift of hospitality? It may well be the best gift they will ever receive!
You might enjoy the interview on https://generationswithvision.com/broadcast/put-a-candle-in-the-window/ There is a five minute news summary before the interview with Kevin.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Jesus’ humanity enabled Him to relate to my challenges, while His divinity gave Him the power to help me overcome them.”
If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.
If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on “Contact Pat” and request your copy.
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!