I just got off the phone with Frank Luntz, who I interviewed about his new book, “What Americans Really Want…Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams and Fears” (Hyperion). One thing he said, and wrote, leapt out: One of the single greatest determinants of whether your kids will grow up to use drugs is whether you eat dinner as a family five nights a week.
That’s it: family dinners can save your kids life.
On page 257, under the heading, “Healthy Children to Healthy Adults: The Six Steps Parents Really Need to Know,” here’s #1:
Having dinner with your children. Nothing says, “I truly care about you” more than spending dinnertime with your children at least five times a week. ...parents who dine with their children produce healthier adults because it sends a clear signal that children are a high priority. ...Parents who miss dinner—no matter what the excuse—are sending the wrong message.
I don’t know what research backs this up, but it strikes an intuitive chord with me. (Until I read Po Bronson’s new book, which I hear says we give too much attention to our kids….).
Scratch that: I don’t care what research backs that up. I do family dinners because I like them—I do them for me. I like to start thinking about what I’m cooking around now—5 pm. I like to shop on the way home. I like to walk in the house and start thinking about cooking and dinner, rather than keep thinking about work. And I like to watch my kids eat.
Since 2000 I’ve kept a journal of what I make for dinner, and I keep the journal by my bed. My wife keeps a prayer book by her side. Same difference.
(By the way, my Luntz interview will appear in next week’s paper. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t have a partner, spouse or kids—but as he told me, his research changed his thinking, not his behavior).
We welcome your feedback.
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.
Terms of Service
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.