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Have you ever heard people say that the family who sits down to eat a meal together around the table sticks together through thick and thin? Too often we are so busy being busy with work, running to soccer practice, or dance, or baseball, or football, or another meeting, or shopping, or playing on the computer, or talking on the phone, or texting, or combing our hair, putting on makeup, or whatever, that we don’t take the time to sit down at the dinner table and reconnect with each other. There are many who never sit down together and break bread due to overwhelming schedules of life. It’s a pretty sad shame too, since there are many benefits to eating together as a family if you can fit it in your schedule. Now I’m not talking about sitting around the television in the living room with a television tray full of food. I am talking about honest to goodness “Pass me the potatoes please, and how was your day”? conversation.
There are so many benefits that result from being able to eat together and look one another in the eye and actually hear each other breathe. There was a study done by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth entitled “How American Children Spend Their Time,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that having family time meals on a regular basis results in fewer behavioral problems. According to an article published in 2006 in “New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development”, family time dinners are even more important from a vocabulary standpoint than being read to. It was found that young children learn 1000 rare words at the dinner table in comparison to only about 145 words from parents who read books out loud to them. It only makes sense that there is more focus at the dinner table and obviously more comprehension. No television, no phones, no computers, no noisy noise for a few minutes…. Sounds too good to be true……..but something you might get used to… right?
Being able to sit down and eat together as a family gives you a sense of belonging, and reminds you that you don’t have to face this old world on your own. It’s important especially for young children to give them that sense of security as often as we can. So if you want to do something good for your family that will last and last, encourage everyone to try to sit down at the table at least for a few minutes, at least once or twice a week if you don’t already. It will make all the difference in the world. Children will remember those times for years to come, as they try to instill the same values, and quiet times in their own families that they were taught and can recall made a difference in their own lives and upbringing. Bind the family together and wrap them with the minutes of together moments forever. “So that’s what breathing sounds like?” Honest to goodness!
Have you ever received one of those letters that someone sends out from time to time to everyone on their list to catch them up on their life? Sometimes they can be a bit over done and downright annoying, and then sometimes they really make you stop and think about your own life. Take a look at this fictional account of one of those types of letters here.
“Dear Family and Friends,
Our only daughter, Sarah Marie, graduated with her Associate in Science on May 6, 2006. Please indulge us, at least a little, as we are so proud of the young Christian woman Sarah has become, and of achieving the goal that she set before herself in the face of extreme adversity.
As most of you are aware, on the day of Sarah’s 16th birthday her Aunt Kim was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer which had spread at that time to her liver. She in fact was given only a few months to live. Kim prayed that GOD would give her strength, and eventually survived 5 1/2 long and hard-fought years on this earth. Sarah and Kim were very close as she was like the daughter that Kim never had.
It was during this time that Sarah would start her college career. Sarah was strong, determined, faithful, and never once lost sight of her goal. As life would have it, with Kim suffering through endless chemotherapy, radiation treatments, hair loss, and ongoing sickness, life dealt us yet another blow. Grandpa Buckley was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm.
Grandpa spent approximately 3 1/2 months in hospital while being placed in and out of the intensive care unit all along the way. Sarah would try to come after her classes just to sit and spend time with her grandpa even though most of the time he could not respond since he was sedated and was on a ventilator with a hole cut into his neck. The LORD did finally welcome grandpa home on June 21, 2003.
Sarah and Grandpa Buckley had a very special bond that has left a huge hole in her heart, as well as the rest of the family. She knew that her grandpa would have wanted her to continue on with school. Sarah wanted to be employable once she graduated from high school, so she initially chose to pursue her esthetician license. She completed that goal on January 26, 2004 and is now a licensed esthetician in the state of North Carolina.
She was saddened with endless pain and suffering. She was confused yet undaunted at the young age of 20. Sarah continued to pursue her Associate degree, while working 30 plus hours per week. It was during the latter part of her fall semester and during the Christmas holiday that Aunt Kim would eventually fight her last battle with the cancer beast. Our family spent Christmas day in the hospital with Kim. It was her last Christmas with us. She struggled for every breath as they kept trying to suck the junk out of her lungs with that awful sucking machine they had. They called them breathing treatments. I couldn’t stand the sound of that thing, and then to look down at my sister with her bald head and barely any meat on her bones , and dark circles under her eyes and sunken cheeks was too much for all of us.
On December 27, 2005, Kim went home to be with the LORD. We know that Aunt Kim and Grandpa Buckley were up in heaven cheering loudly, just like we were, the day Sarah Marie walked on stage to receive her diploma on May 6, 2006. We don’t understand why GOD has chosen to let our family endure so much pain and grief, other than to make us realize it is not about us – you see IT IS ABOUT HIM!!!!
Perhaps we were meant to be a witness to all of you to live your life like it is your last day. We have come to realize through all of this that it doesn’t really matter what your bank account looks like, or the material items you have, or the social status you might have acquired along life’s journey here on earth. We need to teach our children and remind ourselves that GOD has a plan for each of our lives, and our final reward will be in heaven. It is there that we will give GOD all the glory!
You can see that Sarah has lived up to her nickname “little bulldog”. She never gave up and she never gave in. We hope that by sharing our story of our “little bulldog” that this will be an inspiration to anyone who may find themselves having to endure similar circumstances. May GOD bless you all……
Love and Hugs,
Carla and Jim”