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{}   *The Family Dinner Table* 


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The Family Dinner Table

By Jo Ann Wentzel

There are few places better to connect than the dinner table. You see
kids constantly without really seeing them. You shuffle them to and
from activities or pass them in the hall, but often do not even look at
each other. When people sit across form each other at mealtimes,
there is an opportunity to really be in touch.

Mealtimes should be pleasant in order to assure good digestion, but
when everyone is relaxed other phenomenon takes place. Families talk
to each other. They share their day, and sometimes casual remarks
lead to more enlightening conversations. This is your chance to touch
base and really know what your teen is doing.

When families do not talk at the dinner table as I have been told is custom
in some families, they miss out on an opportunity to know each other better.
Just rushing through eating makes it less of an enjoyment and almost a
chore. Even worse are those who never sit down at the same time to eat.
It is such an important concept, that dinner was often rescheduled in my
foster home so everyone could share this time together. It is tough with so
many extracurricular activities, but should be considered a goal worth
trying to achieve.

The priority of sharing mealtimes should be a closer more open relationship.
It is a good time to 'eyeball' your child and look for problem signs as

This is the time to listen to new names, places, and activities that your
child holds important. These casual inclusions into your conversations may
offer you valuable clues when a problem develops. It may give you ideas on
where to look for your child if they are late or missing. It can also give
you insight into what types of activities they are engaged in. It's the perfect
opportunity to listen and take mental notes without grilling them. We
must always protect our children's safety even when they wish we would
not do so.

The most important part of mealtimes should be developing a closer bond
and really listening to your kids. Make an effort today to sit down together
at the dinner table and form a loving, and lasting, relationship with your

Jo Ann Wentzel

Send Jo Ann an e-mail and let her know what you thought of her article!

(Note from Michael:  This is the latest e-mail address we have for Jo Ann.  It may or may not be current.)

A little bit about Jo Ann:

Former foster parent and day-care mom, Independent Living Program director for teens, Guardian- Ad- Litem and State Mediator for the courts, I have worked with youth for over 30 years. Now I use my writing and training services to teach parents and share my experiences. My husband Dan and I run Parenting Consultation Services which offers in-home family services locally and training nationwide.


Thought For The Day:

"Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking."

Verse for the Day:

"Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him." --Proverbs 29:20

Kid's Thought for the day:

"You won't get to see the big dipper, if you are afraid of the dark."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust."

Coach's Thought For The Day

We have met the enemy, and "they" is "us."

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"The good writer develops his own voice, her own voice. You just can't do that if you don't listen to yourself. And the best way to listen to yourself is to read to yourself -- out loud. Listen for the cadence -- or the discordance. Listen for the beat -- and the offbeat. Listen for the rhyme and the reason. Sometimes, you'll hear the jarring word, the awkward phrase -- the word that looked just fine but sounded junky, the phrase that typed nice but sounded clunky. So, talk." --Michael Gartner

Deep Thought For The Day:

"What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?"



Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!

Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of  Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your computer as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house.  Be sure to come back and visit each week! 

This Week: "Discerning the Call" by Jeff Williams



Over 87,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others".  If you aren't one of them just visit: and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message!


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

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