Family Dinner: A Lost Art

Paul Morrone |

By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA

I recently met a couple of my High School buddies, Paul and Jim for dinner and cocktails. We sat around and were having the “remember when” conversation for hours. We got lost in discussion about the past and would snap back into reality and be in the current day about whatever topic. We were sharing stories about our journeys through life, the good and the bad, and, up to this point and how thankful we all were for so many things. We are all Italian, so we had that in common in our upbringing which means that food was a big part of our heritage and of our childhood memories. Another commonality in our upbringing was the Sunday dinner conversations at the table with our families. Interestingly, we all seemed to continue that tradition into adulthood as we became parents of our own and carried on with that tradition with the next generation.

Some may say, ugh, Sunday dinner conversations, please get me out of here. It was not that we went around the table and each person shared a story about what happened to them at school or with their friends. It was usually a free-flowing dialogue, hands waving in the air and food everywhere. Sometimes you had to jump into the conversation as any hesitation may render your contribution irrelevant. You snooze you lose. Granted, some days were better than others and the entire family was not always present. It seemed that something embarrassing inevitably came up and certainly lead to some laughter. Good clean fun. There was never any malicious yelling at one another, although considering we’re talking about a group of Italians, it may have sounded that way. Our dinners were not quite as dramatic as an episode of Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck at the head of the table and a lesson to be learned. It may seem like an antiquated practice in today’s on-the-go society, but the dinnertime conversation was a key part of my childhood. 

People are so busy, running here and running there. It is often difficult to stop and have dinner with your spouse let alone the entire family. Now, our children are grown with lives (and families) of their own and are out from under our roof. It makes it that much more enjoyable when we can get together for dinner as a family, only now there are three additional members at the table (Jill, Dave and Kyle). We could be having pizza, burgers on the grill, or dining at a fine restaurant. A cocktail or glass of wine is usually part of the ritual. Where we are is irrelevant, it’s the people at the table is what matters most.

As I write this, I am having a lifetime of flashbacks of many meals with my family as a kid. Continue those flashbacks to my adult life with our kids. Buddy has been a welcome addition to the dinner table as he is always ready for any scraps that are thrown his way. Now that we have Kyle at the table, another generation has been added to the conversation. It is wonderful. Kyle may not contribute to the conversation directly, but he certainly is part of the experience. Life is Good!

Until the Next Tom’s Take…

Tracking # 1-902621