I received a question from a friend who is a missionary in South America where the main meal is somewhere near noon (really anywhere from 12-3 or even 4!) Her husband’s ministries take him out in the afternoon and evening. She was wanting to find a time when they could have a family meal together.
Do you have any suggestion on how to get at least one meal together with different school schedules, a hungry baby and a busy father? We are hungry at noon. Lisa comes home at 2. Roland leaves the house mostly around 2 p.m and doesn´t come home before 9:30....???
|A country home in Daniela's mission field|
Wow, Daniela, that is a dilemma!
First of all, is eating together something that is important to both you and Roland or do you have another family time that is important? To me meals seem like the natural time to be together, but there may be seasons in our lives when it’s just not possible. If it is important to both of you, you can find a solution.
What about breakfast? Would that work as a family meal for you or does Lisa have to leave too early?
|Daniela and Roland when Lisa was the only one.|
Can Roland wait until 2:30 or 3 to leave, at least some days? If he could, you could all have a good snack at noon and then eat the meal together as soon as Lisa gets home.
Another option I can think of would be: those of you who are there eat at noon. Then whoever can, eats again with Lisa when she gets home—either a snack, or save part of lunch. (This might be a way to get your preschooler to finish her meal, if she’s a dawdler.)
A big part of the problem is that South American life doesn’t care about family meals; everyone just has almuerzo [translated lunch, but meaning the big meal of the day] when they arrive home, any time from noon through to evening and each one serves himself from the pot on the stove and eats alone.
|Our family enjoying raclette with Daniela and Roland in 2007|
Another problem is that in missionary life, the “hours” are mostly evening.
If you want to do one of these things, or come up with your own solution, you and Roland need talk about it and to be in agreement, realizing it won’t be ideal for everyone, or possibly even for anyone, but it is better than never being together around the table.
We didn't have this problem much until coming to the states. I have redefined "family meal" for us: whenever two or more people in the family eat together! (We usually get to be three or four and sometimes import those who don't live in the house.)
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You told me!
Last Wednesday, I asked you what you had on your table. Here's what some of you told me:
Lisa, from Texas: My table has sprouting seedlings on it :). Because we homeschool and we have no table in the schoolroom, it has become the multipurpose table. Someday I will reclaim it, but for now, it serves as a craft table (and in fact, has no finish on it due to the damage inflicted on it). It is a great place to fold laundry, paint, glue, and throw schoolbooks. The throwing of miscellaneous items on it is now banned, but still happens occasionally. There have been too many evenings where we have eaten elsewhere because the multipurpose table was slated for something else other than dinner. So, I can only dream of the day when I have a scary Indian lady on our table while we eat our curry-coconut stir fry!!
Nikki, from Ecuador: No red roses here, they are exported to other countries. I'm enjoying my $2.50/dozen roses and my $1 worth of astromelias!
Lisa, from Pennsylvania: A laptop!
Rachel, from Connecticut: Tools, light fixtures...All for working on our new house! How God provides!! :)
Thanks for answering, ladies! Why don't you write to me and maybe I'll share your ideas too!
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A special welcome to readers who have surfed over from Home Educating Association Reviews where they are featuring my book this week! There is a special discount if you follow their directions for ordering the book, so check that out!
Sadly, the reviewer said, "Her personality and mine vary greatly, and many of her suggestions really wouldn’t “click” with my family." If you've already read my book, perhaps you'd like to add your two cents. Go to the review page and scroll to near the bottom (below the information about the reviewer) and click on "comments" and fill it out as you believe is appropriate. Thanks!
They are also holding a FIVE book giveaway!
And a shout out (that's American for salute) to my Australian readers! Lord willing, I will begin heading your way on Wednesday (February 15)! And to honor that, I will have a special post written by an Aussie! Her entry is a reminder of how long our "growing up" table stays with us--not always in a good way. Come see what she has to say and spread the word to your friends.
The blog goes on! I have all the posts set up and ready to go for while I'm gone, but I'm also hoping I'll have the opportunity to bring you some ideas and news from families "down under" as well, so keep coming back for more inspiring ideas!