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Rhythms that Work for My Family: Dinner Time


Deuteronomy 6:7 Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

I like to eat. Granted I don’t eat a ton, as I tend to fall into the skinny category of body shapes; but I do love a good meal. In fact, I love it so much that I eat every day. More than that, I eat more than once throughout the day. You might have heard of them, but we call it breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I have to eat, and I know that everyone else in my family has to eat, then it’s important that I leverage this commonality to get that quality time any way I can.

It has long been a rhythm in our house that we eat dinner together. When the kids were little, we would throw that baby carrier up on the table with us. When they were little and throwing cheerios all over the place, they would be joined by very on-guard parents attempting to eat their meals at the same time.

I know live in that moment where we’ve got soccer and baseball monopolizing nights away from home, but we still work hard to make it happen. What’s the secret?

Not all meals are the same. Take what you can get when you can get it.

Sometimes we have time and great conversations filled with questions and answers and stories and happenings from all over the neighborhood and world. But many times we just eat together for 5 minutes before we run out of the house, and in do so we are forcing ourselves to sit together. In this world of busy-ness, that sitting together is the most valuable thing we have sometimes.

I remember having foster kids in our house, and when we’d all sit down together to eat we’d get the funniest looks. When a 4 year old shoots you the, “This is funny. Are we all going to eat together?” look then we knew something was missing from their lives. This rhythm has always been our gift to whoever is living in our house at any given time. In fact, if you’ve ever been invited over to dinner then you’ve been allowed in on our most hallowed time together!

How can you make dinner time work for you? Have you found this valuable for your family?


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.