The most valuable lesson I have learned is that the most meaningful journey is the inner journey.

Bringing Joy Back to the Table

How scheduling leisure first can lead to greater happiness and productivity

Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. Still talking about summer. Want to talk about the family dinner. Summertime less is scheduled. We have more free time with our family. Maybe how about more family dinners together? Growing up, we always sat down for dinner. God bless my mom for cooking every night. It was good and it was simple and it was made with love.

I feel like the family dinners changed a bit, running around with kids, soccer practice, football practice, all kinds of commitments. And no one seems to be honoring and cherishing that dinner hour. I guess I’m old fashioned. It was a time to catch up with our family. It was a time to goof around with our siblings. It was time to check in with each other.

Well, maybe now we’ve got fussy eaters or maybe now finding the time and energy to cook a meal. Maybe we don’t have that as much, and I’m sure there’s other reasons why we may not sit down to a family dinner, but it’s summertime and maybe we have less commitments and maybe we could try to have some fun and put some family dinner hours together. What if we threw something on the grill or some quick and easy salads that we can make ahead of time, have the family participate, grab a recipe and practice together. There’s great joy and there’s great benefits to sitting down and having a meal together.

We’re learning about each other. We’re learning about food. We’re learning to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. We’re taking time to nourish ourselves with love and food and the company of others. And so this week is really simple.

This action item for the week is plan a meal, plan a dinner time, get the family together, get involved, keep it simple and have a meal together.

My word of the week is Dinner.

The D is for Deal. Make an arrangement to sit down each evening and have a meal together. It will enrich our relationship with each other. We’ll get to know each other better.

The I is to Impart, to bestow. You know what? When we sit down together, we get to share our life lessons. We get to impart wisdom. We get to share our experiences. We get to share ourselves. And you know what? And that feels good. And that is fun.

The N is for Nibbles, to chew or snack. You know, we don’t have to cook as if the royalty is coming. We could just do a simple heartfelt meal. That can go a long way of making everyone feel loved because we took the time to put it together. We took the time to sit down with each other. We took the time to set the table. It’s just the time together.

The second N is to Nourish, to develop and encourage. The dining table can be an area that can help us build self-esteem. It is the discussions that help us develop our thoughts, the discussions that help us develop how we express our opinions. This is so important to young children, to be able to sit down, feel safe, ask questions, and have good, honest discussions, and throw in a ton of laughter in there.

The E is to Enjoy, to savor, and appreciate. We learn to appreciate each other. We can learn to appreciate our food, the conversation. We learn to appreciate our parents and their professions. These dinner times together are priceless.

The R is for Real and authentic. When we cook for each other, we are teaching our culture. We’re teaching our traditions. We’re teaching our heritage. If we’re lucky to have our grandparents around, this is even more precious because we learn the dishes that they have made over generations. The dinner time is a sacred time and I hope that we can put it back into our schedule. Find time to make a simple meal, to sit down together, to laugh, to talk. These moments, they stay with us forever. And remember, life is for us. And life comes from us and living from our heart will enrich our days on this planet.

Have a wonderful week. I hope you have many, many wonderful dinners this week.

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