Psalm 133: 1 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
From meal preparation, to setting of table, to sitting and eating, to clean up, unity is required for things to run smoothly. From a very young age children can help stir the food, carry napkins and silverware, sit without fussing or throwing food, and clear salt and pepper or throw away paper products.
A friend even went so far as to buy all plastic dishes (very nice looking) so her young children could help set/clear table and load/unload dishwasher without the fear of breakage. When our children were small we lowered the dishes to a level that made it easy for them to get them and put them away. This working side by side is creating unity with a family meal as the goal.
Two simple questions that can stimulate unity during the meal through some lively conversation are:
“What was the funniest thing that happened today?“
“What was your high and your low today?”
Lastly, if a little lighthearted unity is desired, perhaps a theme supper could produce that. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate Chinese theme where everyone has to dye their hair black and wear a kimono. Instead, it could be “red night” were everyone wears as much red as possible and the table is dressed in red and much of the food is red. Or it could be “pajama night”; can’t you see your little ones running off in excitement to get their jammies on for dinner? How about backwards night? Everyone comes to dinner with their close on backwards and the meal starts with dessert and ends with salad? That one makes me uncomfortable, but it would be loved by my family!
Working together, great conversation and creativity can all promote unity at any point in a day. Meal time is just an obvious place for all these elements to come together. Embrace all that is required to create a meal as the tool it is to promote unity