Children Seen and Heard (new Moody cookbook)

You all know that conversation is important in the Coughlin home! Back in July I wrote a post called, The Table and in September, Teen Talk.

Now Paul and I have written an essay for this brand new release, Come to Our Table, a Midday Connection Cookbook, edited by Anita Lustrea & Melinda Schmidt with Lori Neff.

Check out what dinnertime is like around our table!

Dinner Talk: Children Seen and Heard

Dinnertime is the most stimulating and important part of our day. After prayer, we go around the table and tell each other what happened during our day. This includes our children’s guests. It’s their time to share what’s on their minds and to answer a few good-willed questions if they want. This is how we stay connected. It’s lively, a time to let down our hair, and for many of our guests, it’s a source of entertainment. There is always lots of laughter and joking.

Some of our young guests aren’t used to this amount of banter while eating. A few have been literally speechless at first, but then a desire to be known by others takes hold and they start talking. Some like this new experience so much that they talk so long their food gets cold. Being listened to makes them feel honored.

The volume of our free-flowing conversations tends to be a few notches higher than what they’re used to. And sometimes the conversation isn’t exactly “right” or “proper,” the way we tend to think of these words in church. But this is the time when we get a chance to point it out without condemning them. They feel comfortable sharing their hearts with us - even when their hearts, like ours on occasion, are in the wrong place. In that way, our dinnertime is also confession time.

Dinnertime at the Coughlin’s is where children are seen and heard. Even when what they say is exaggerated and negative. We help them handle their feelings instead of saying they shouldn’t have any—a fallacy many of us learned as kids.

Like you, we’re exhausted at the end of the workday, so there’s a desire in both of us to have a much more low-key dinnertime experience. Quiet dinnertimes are far easier, far less time-consuming than robust dinnertimes. But we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Dinnertime doesn’t feel right unless we’ve had a good talk, shared our day with others, and had family fellowship. We can’t afford not to listen to, learn from, and love one another during these special gatherings.

How do you value conversation around your table?

One year ago, Paul and I were guests in Chicago on the radio show, The Midday Connection, with Host and Executive Producer Anita Lustrea. She interviewed us about our book, Married but Not Engaged.

A few months later Anita contacted us to see if we’d be a part of this new Midday cookbook, just released by Moody this month.

The book shares time-saving tips, hospitality ideas, and inspirational readings and prayers, along with awesome recipes from their favorite authors!

This is a great gift idea for cookbook lovers!

(My "Too Much Tradition" post made it over to Crosswalk. Check it out! )


momrn2 said...

Your table time sounds much like ours! Conversation even among (especially among) the children has always been encouraged.

During this season my husband works many hours often getting home quite late. However, the children and I still sit down to dinner together not losing those moments for conversation and connecting.

ValleyGirl said...

Oooo, I'm a cookbook lover -- guess I better add this to my Christmas wish list. Sounds like a wonderful book! I'm always up for a new cookbook, but I don't allow myself to buy ANY anymore because I already have more than I have room for. But if I get them as gifts, well, I'm sure not going to turn that down!!

I think it's wonderful the way you and Paul focus so much of your energy on drawing people out, whether it's your children, your children's friends, or adult dinner guests. I love your approach to "mealtime ministry" and I'm trying to develop the same practise. It's tough going and I don't know that I've progressed much yet, but I hope someday this is the kind of thing I'll be remembered for.

linda t said...

As our kids were growing up we'd always ask them this question each night over dinner... "what did you learn today that you did not know yesterday?" The conversations that came out of their answers were so fun and stimulating. I learned alot about my kids and how they saw themselves and their world.
A great post Sandy!

Julie said...

Your kids are truly blessed - you sound like FUN parents. I adore laughing at the dinner table. And BONUS: with all the laughter you can't help but eat less food! *wink*

The book sounds wonderful! I can't WAIT to get it. Are you offering autographed copies (for gifts?)

Nadine said...

Our table was the same. It was the best part of the day with the kids around talking and laughing. It's the same now when they are home.

What fun for you both to contribute to a book that sounds delightful.

Barb said...

I remember that interview, and how FUN it was to have you visiting the Midwest! With Happy Coughlin comments, that hasta be a great cookbook!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great blog! I just got referred here by one of my readers (I wrote an article (the link is in my post from today December 1) and my reader thought I would enjoy your blog! Indeed I do, thanks!

I'll look forward to reading more from you!


Rachelle said...

Love the seen AND heard concept. Sounds exactly like our dinner table! It's a lot of work to get the family together for a sit-down dinner every night but I plan to keep doing it forever. Thanks for the inspiring post!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

We don't have kids at home, so it's just us having the conversations around the table. We do sit every night together though.

I love listening to Midday connection, so that is great to see your pic with Anita. Cookbook sounds awesome too.


Diane @ A Watered Garden said...

Your cookbook sounds wonderful! I wish we had back some of those days with the kids around the table. That's one of the "hard" parts of getting used to the empty nest. Hubby and I always visit over dinner and try to share a meal with our adult kids whenever possible.