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Small Beginnings

The Reyes family dinner table has evolved over the years. When the twins were newborns, I was amazed at how these normally content babies timed their cries with the first bite of dinner. No sooner did we sit down to eat when somebody needed our attention. To this day I attribute my speed eating ability to this phase in their lives. Then there was the period when the boys decided they wouldn’t eat vegetables anymore. Dinner became an unpleasant festival of the wills, so to speak. As they grew older, the family dinner resembled a marathon of “eat as fast as possible” so we can get back to moving around. It was so hard for these little guys to sit still to eat.

Growing up in the Cannon household, one of my favorite memories of home was family dinner. We all love to communicate, so dinner was a wonderful time of discussion, debate, laughter, and real family bonding. I have always been persuaded about the importance of family dinner. Now that the boys are older, eating vegetables, and growing in self-control, Jason and I are trying to use dinner-time intentionally in the building of our family. Jason is leading the family in our New Year’s resolution to grow in gratitude this year, so at the table we aim to stimulate conversation around what blessings we are grateful for today. He has also begun reading the book, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds after we eat.

So we started our more intential approach to family dinner this past week. God kindly provided help through His Word. I read in Ezra 3 that when the people rebuilt the foundation of the new temple, there were two reactions: one group rejoiced, worshiped, shouted for joy; the other group wept, wailed, and mourned. The notes in my Bible make the following comments: The tears of the older members of the community were not tears of joy, but tears of disappointment because of the contrast between this small beginning, and the splendor of Solomon’s temple. (3:12)”

What does this have to do with the Reyes’ family dinner? I have to ask myself if I rejoice in small beginnings, or lament the fact that our family dinners aren’t like the ones I grew up with. There is so much to rejoice and be grateful in. Yes, it is a small beginning – we aren’t talking of the deep things of God yet. We do have to teach our boys how to think beyond, “I’m grateful for my toys” to see how God has interacted with them on this particular day. We do have to say repeatedly, “sit down, please,” “say excuse me,” “stop playing with your food.” It might not look like my mom’s dinner table, but we are following in my parent’s footsteps: building, by God’s grace, brick by brick, a family that will one day be monument to the glory of God. I want to rejoice in this small beginning.

Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “for He is good,for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

What small beginning are you rejoicing in today?

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6 thoughts on “Small Beginnings

  1. Keep it up, my friend. I, too, share your ideals for family mealtime. The family I grew up treated dinner as an experience, whereas Paul’s family grazed off the stove whenever one of 5 boys got hungry. So by God’s grace, our own family mealtime is a sit-down together time (usually), getting harder to pull everyone together between babysitting, virtual co-ops 2 nights a week, driver’s ed, and Ben’s weekend job. I would like more linger time w/ the family, and a no-arguing policy.

    As for your question,I started teaching Joel yesterday to write “Zubrowski” in all caps. I was using small scraps paper (a quarter of an 8 and 1/2 x 11) for him to practice on He copied very neatly the first 5 letters and then made an M every time he tried the W. Then he ran always ran out of paper before running out of letters in a straight line. Poor guy. Good thing we didn’t name him Christopher or Mattathias or something.

  2. We also have a struggle at our dinner table. The kids just want to eat their food quickly and then be excused right away. We have been encouraging them to “sit awhile and enjoy talking to your family”.
    As far as small beginnings – (I KNOW you have experienced this one) we are learning to tie our own shoes! Sandal season is way over so there is no excuse not to learn now!

  3. My small beginning is not kid-related, but I’m excited to be starting a new year with a new devotional book to guide my Bible reading. I just finish Beth Moore’s “Beloved Disciple,” which was excellent, but am excited for a new study.

  4. Well, my small beginning is NOT breaking my addiction to sugar. I think it’s going to take something drastic, unfortunately, to break that addiction.

    HOwever, I am celebrating the beginning of a new phase in the boys’ growth. I believe we have officially hit toddler-hood, and so far I’m more excited about it than anxious. Thank you, Lord.

    I have begun to read from their Picture Bible at breakfast, pray for a friend with them at lunch (although I forgot today and we did it afterward), and have “story time” for 5-15 minutes (whatever we can all manage to get through peacefully that day) before their afternoon nap.

    I did try to initiate story time on their new lion rugs, but gave up after only 3 days of trying to keep two boys on their individual rugs. I just couldn’t get through a book. SO, into their feeding chairs they went, and while that is not teaching them too much self-control to sit still and pay attention, it’s achieving my other idealistic goal of reading faithfully to my boys.

    I’m learning you can’t have it all, so figure out what to sacrifice to get what you really think is best in the long run.

  5. I am trying to get all the extra junk out of my house…so far I have 2 bags of clothes for the rescue mission, 1 bag of preemie clothes for the NICU, a big box labeled “E-Bay” and a couple of bags of garbage….baby steps!! 🙂

  6. I cleaned my room. Definitely an all-day process. But, praise God, I didn’t kill myself climbing on a box in the garage to get the dolly down out of the rafters so I could move the file cabinet in my room out of my way. I couldn’t get it out the door however, so it had to wait till my hubby got home. But, I think he was pleasantly surprised that our room is neat and tidy and that the sitting area actually looks like a sitting area. I carted away at least two boxes of the boys’ things in the process.

    The kids didn’t get much direct attention from me for a few hours, but they didn’t fight, so I guess they didn’t need me anyway. The downstairs is a wreck as a result, but at least our room is a sanctuary now – as long as we can keep them from making it a play zone again.

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