FROM THE DESK OF MRS. McGOWAN

Happy New Year!

Family dinners at my house can be challenging. My husband travels, and my daughter and I have busy schedules. I have been looking into ways to make our time together at meal time more enjoyable. A New Year’s Resolution perhaps?? In looking for ideas, I came across the Family Dinner Project and I thought I would share some highlights (www.familydinnerproject.com).

The Family Dinner Project is a nonprofit organization currently operating from the offices of Project Zero at Harvard University. They claim that sharing a fun family meal is good for the spirit, brain and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem. Additionally, family meals are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression. The family dinner project also believes in the power of family dinners to nourish ethical thinking.

One of my favorite sections of the website suggests family dinner games that encourage conversation and laughs. Here are a few of my favorites.

Rosebud and Thorn: ask each person at the table to share a thorn from their day (something that was difficult) and a rosebud (something that they hope will happen tomorrow).

Family Quiz: Without naming them, parents describe relatives, and the kids have to guess the person in question. “Who in the family worked in a barn?” “Who had a dog named Bark?”

What a great way to get conversations going and to spend time together!

Here is to celebrating time together!