Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was a Mom who was very concerned that each of her children understood how special they were. She was worried that because there were 5 of them and 1 of her, they would lose sight of their every day value and importance in her eyes. This Mom knew the importance of words. Knew that everyone, regardless of age, needs to hear that they are important. Worthy. Loved. Unique. But how in the midst of diapers, toddlers, bottles, trains, Polly Pockets, play dates, therapies and the busyness of life do you ensure that you are building your children up each day???? How do you focus on the positive? How do you communicate your love?
Fast forward to present day. In a land that is right here and now. I am that Mom who wondered long ago how this journey of parenthood would all work out. I am that Mom who sat and wondered if my kids would ever grasp how much I loved them. Guess what. I still wonder about many of those things. Hey, having a 4 year old, 2 year old twins, a one year old, and a newborn does that to you!! But why do I wonder now you may ask? Because that Mom (have you guessed that it's me?) that managed five little people now has five children who are at a different stage of life ( 12 1/2, 10, 10, 9, and 8 years of age)-and friends, it hasn't gotten easier. The diapers, pacifiers, and little toys are gone. But controlled chaos has been replaced with out of control schedules, activities, friends, homework, and different problems that now seem much bigger than those that I faced with those little people. And in the midst of it all, I still wonder. Do they know I am proud of them? Does he see how smart he is? Can she understand that her worth is not in who her friends are, but in who God has created her to be? Does she see me giggle? Could I hear that joke one more time? Could we just enjoy each other for a few more minutes. And do you know how that Mom and this Mom reconciled all of this pondering? It is really quite simple. Three words:
The Family Dinner. Long before the food revolution. Long before studies were published that show statistics about how much better our kids behave/learn/contribute to society if they eat with their families. Long before it became trendy. We intentionally made time to eat together. We've done this since the kids were all tiny. We still do. And while eating together is awesome, the really cool change came after a friend shared a daily celebration that her family used at their dinner table-the special plate. I loved the idea!!!! It was so simple!! Is was ingenious!! Fantastic!! Each night one family member would get the special plate-and everyone at the table would share one thing that they thought was special about the plate holder. Rules and regulations have varied over the years, and lately we haven't gotten the plate out. BUT during this revolution and my new quest for peaceful dining, I realized that the plate must come out of hiding, get dusted off, and join our table again. The special plate is WONDERFUL if you live in a home where siblings argue (perhaps this isn't the case in your home, but it sure is here at my house!!). The special plate is awesome for someone who has had a bad day/good day/sick day. This is an opportunity for family members to build their peeps up with simple compliments. How does it work? At our house each person gets the plate once a week-seven days and seven family members = perfection!!! You get the plate to eat on, and you get six complements which is super cool!!!!! Not only does it make everyone feel good, it extends our meal time. We all sit until the special person has heard all of the compliments and if we are lucky a conversation is started which roots us to the table for a bit longer.
So if you are looking for a way to spice things up around your table, consider the special plate. It is such an easy way to convey love to the people that sit around your dinner table (the kids love it when we have dinner guests because our guest automatically gets the plate) in a non-threatening way!!