IN HER IMPORTANT STUDY of affluent, troubled teens, The Price of Privilege, counselor Madeline Levine observes. “Families who eat together five or more times a week have kids who are significantly less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana, have higher grade-point averages, less depressive symptoms, and fewer suicide attempts than families who eat together two or fewer times per week.” A host of other studies confirm this point. The routine of a regular family meal is crucial for the maturation of children. It emphasizes the importance of family. It also creates an important environment for daily communication between parents and children.
A shared family meal is hugely important to Christians for another reason. It is a regular opportunity for daily exposure to prayer and Bible study. The time doesn’t need to be long. Ten or fifteen minutes will do, but ultimately, it is dad’s responsibility. Real masculinity initiates spiritual activity. You don’t need to be a great Bible scholar. Pass out paper back ESVs, read a paragraph, and ask the kids to explain it. Ask lots of questions. When done, sum up with the right answer and ask one of the children to pray.
The results will be long-term and massive. You are honoring God and his Word. You are convincing your children that God is central. You are showing them what true masculinity looks like. In addition, you will see fruit in your children and grandchildren. They will imitate you. Your sons will do this with their families, and your daughters will seek to marry men who do the same J.
If you have fallen off the wagon, if you have gotten out of the habit of family devotions, don’t beat yourself up. Just ask God’s forgiveness, and climb back on board.