“Mahlzeit “ – About Sharing Meals

It is better to build a longer table than a taller  fence.                                                                                            Unknown

There is a piece of furniture in most homes that experienced a change of importance over the the last decades. It’s very often found in the kitchen but in a lot of cases there is a whole room dedicated to it. At some point it was the control room of a family, a place where most important decisions were made. Over the years it has lost its importance and has been degraded to a playing area or a storage place for paper and other stuff.

I am talking about the dinner table. Not so long ago that was the place where the family met, up to three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am the offspring of one of those families growing up the in seventies and eighties in Germany. We did not only have breakfast together every day before school. No, my mom cooked every day a meal for lunch, because my dad came home from work, and in the evening we gathered again around the same table for Brotzeit.  I continue to strive to spend many mealtimes during the week and especially on the weekends with my wife and three children.

Nowadays it looks like this is the exception to the rule. According to a survey of Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 -2012 fewer than half of Americans eat meals daily with their families. That makes sense. Everybody including children are more independent now. Schedules are tight. Grabbing a bite (mostly fast food) is quite simple. But what’s the price families pay for that convenience?

Here are some benefits to consider:

  • Eating at home is normally healthier than eating out
  • Eating together means eating slower, recognizing earlier when to stop
  • Family dinners promote better communication skills in children and adults
  • Eating together teaches social skills, helping children to interact with peers
  • Sharing meals supports creativity and critical thinking

But eating together is not only beneficial for children:

  • Eating lunch in the office together supports the team culture and morale
  • Sharing meals brings people together and invites the exchange of ideas
  • Doing business over a meal is more convenient than in an office
  • Inviting strangers to share a meal creates friendship and tolerance
  • Sharing meals nurtures the mind and the soul and supports happiness

So the next time you are up for a meal think about if you want to munch something all by yourself, or if you should ask that person near you if they would like to eat with you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “Mahlzeit”



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