The Family Dinner Table.

            Everyone says it is important to have family dinners for your children and for the well-being of your family.

            It makes children happier, they say. It makes children smarter, they say.

            It gives them better self-esteem and confidence, it keeps them out of trouble, it makes for an overall healthier family.

            There are a myriad of reasons and I subscribe to them all.

            Sharing dinner at an 8-foot long handcrafted oak table every night made me all of those things. But I have watched and seen the way dozens of families operate and I have come to know that a family dinner table is gravity.

            Gravity is the force pulling together all matter, and this shared table does that and so much more. It creates the balance of a home. It keeps all within a home grounded. It pulls everyone together to the exact same center.

            My mother ordered this handcrafted table many years ago. This old table has seen many plates of food and heard lots of laughter. It has surely seen hundreds of different guests by now...aunts, uncles, priests, old friends, new friends, elementary school friends, college friends, and anyone and everyone who ever needed a loving home for Thanksgiving. It has endured drumming and singing and crying but most importantly has offered each of us a moment every single day of our childhood to answer the question in front of the other five people God gave us to love life with...

            "My precious jewel, how was your day?"

            When children feel heard, they remain centered. When they feel loved, they remain grounded. The love within a home sustains children. Love felt at a dinner table gives children and families life.

            It is at this oak table where I have felt heard and loved for my entire life. It remains the central place of sharing and loving for our family to this day. As a 26-year-old woman my heart overflows at sitting at this table, noticing that long after dinner has passed, and plated have been cleaned...

            We still sit and laugh, talk, and share in life together.