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Family Meal Essay

In her essay, “The Magic of the Family Meal,” Nancy Gibbs, explains the important role of having meals plays on children. Gibbs begins her essay by telling us how valuable having a family meal is and the positive outcome. She believes that having a family meal, more than three times a week, with no interruptions, can have a great power over a family’s communication skills. Gibbs then explains that children who eat meals with their families, are less likely to get into trouble and eat healthier.

She writes, “Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words, and know which fork to use”(209-210). Gibbs then starts explore the negative effects of not having family meals. She writes that 45 percent of all family dinners have the TV running at the same time as the meal is being eaten.

This is part of the reason kids feel like their parents aren’t proud of them as well as why there is tension among that particular family Gibbs states. She then concludes that back in the day dinner was a very precious event for most U. S. families. Overtime however, Gibbs believes this has dissipated due to social, economic, and technological factors. As a result, families became busier with these factors, which made it harder for families to sit down.

Meanwhile, the message embedded in the microwave was that time spent standing in front of a stove was time wasted,” (211) Says Gibbs. She explores the effects of the fast food business and what role it played in destroying family meals and its importance. Overall Gibbs concludes that every family needs to have an uninterrupted family meal time, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, family meals are important, and writes, “So pull up a chair. Lose the TV. Let the phone go unanswered. And see where the moment takes you” (213).

After reading Nancy Gibbs Essay, I looked back at my life and all the family dinners I have had. My parents got divorced when I was really young. Even though I lived with my mother and my sister, we stopped eating as a family every night. My mother got a job as a banker, where she left at 7 am and didn’t come home until around 7 pm. Thus, all of our meals were at the babysitter’s house, sitting by ourselves. After my father moved to Lincoln city and got married, we went to his house to visit every weekend. We sat down as a family to have a meal every night.

We did not have phones, TV’s, or any other interruptions. At the dinner table we always had pretty in depth conversations which brought us closer as a family. It always made my sister and me feel like we were important and our dad was proud of us. After my father and his wife had their second child, my father cut us off and he didn’t have us come over very much anymore. My sister and I both started acting out in the beginning of middle school year getting into trouble, experimenting with drugs and hanging with the wrong crowds.

Regardless of what we had been told, we didn’t care. Soon my mother got married to my step dad. We started having family dinners again, and my sister and I straightened up. Now that I look back, I do see how important it was for my sister and I to have family meals. These days, it is hard with the world moving so quickly, with jobs and school to sit down and have family dinner. However, we manage to make an effort successful or not, it brings us closer together and we know how important it really is now.


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