Doing Dinner: Confessions of a Radical Mother - Page 2

Author // Maya Talisman Frost

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Doing Dinner: Confessions of a Radical Mother
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Don’t get me wrong. Sports are great for kids. So is drama. And music. And debate. But dinner matters, too.

I figure that my kids aren’t going to be living with us forever, and while they’re here, it’s a lot more important to have dinner together than it is to have the girls sign up for every sport and activity on earth. What they lack in basket-shooting ability, they’ve gained in conversation skills, thoughtfulness and an appreciation for family and shared meals.

They don’t eat yogurt from a tube while riding in a van, then race home to study. Here’s a typical scene at our house: four girls sprawled on the floor in front of the fireplace, doing homework or reading. This is after we’ve had an enjoyable dinner and they’ve cleaned up the kitchen.

It makes me feel terribly guilty. Shouldn’t I be exhausted and irritable, battered by constant demands for rides and juice packs?

It’s not that my kids don’t do anything. They’re into all kinds of activities—drama, music, dance, volunteer work and even jobs. Two are gearing up for lacrosse, another is interviewing for a year-long exchange program and the oldest is in her senior year, doing the college application dance. It’s a busy time. And yet they still eat a real dinner at home most nights.

All of us—singles, married couples, young families and empty nesters—can benefit from the dinner ritual. By adopting and continuing the tradition of shared meals and conversation, we are emphasizing the importance of thinking and sharing ideas. If we want our culture to value thinking, we’ve got to start by offering a tribute to it on a daily basis.

Okay, so my kids may never get athletic scholarships. They may never meet a single university athletic director before choosing which college to attend. They won’t be the next Olympic gymnast or ice skater, and they’re not likely to be conducting symphonies by the time they’re 25.

They’ll have to settle for being happy, smart, kind, aware, motivated and full of enthusiasm for the world and their place in it. Their father and I will just have to be satisfied with lasting memories of a slow life with our cherished children, and our daughters will strive only to duplicate this same lifestyle for their own families someday.

Radical, isn’t it?

Maya FrostAbout the Author:

Maya Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her eyes-wide-open approach to everyday awareness has been featured in over 100 media outlets worldwide. Having turned her attention to education in the last few years, Maya is the author of The New Global Student and head cheerleader for Smart Education Design. She teaches parents how to help their kids get a personalized and exhilarating global education that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Visit her website at

Pathways Issue 23 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #23.

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