It pays to bond over a family meal

HAPPY MEALS: There is no better way to bond with our families than when filling our bellies. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES


    May 30, 2014

    It pays to bond over a family meal

    A FAMILY that eats together, stays together.

    Family meals not only bring the family together, but they are also precious opportunities for the members to build greater bonds.

    As far as I can remember, my maternal family has always had at least one meal together every day - usually dinner. The six of us would share the food that my mum cooked for the family; we sat around a table, making sure that everyone had enough to eat.

    When our siblings and I got married and set up our own families, it became more challenging for us to continue our daily dinner routines as we were living apart.

    That was when we decided, together with our spouses, that we would take turns to visit our parents and have a meal with them. Sundays thus became our family's official "Day-In".

    On these days, the grandchildren would love to go to their grandparents' house to savour their grandma's delicious cooking.

    On most occasions, my sister and I would take turns to visit our parents and help our mother prepare lunch for the whole family.

    The entire household would be filled with the aroma of curry and steamed rice, as well as the sounds of people catching up while munching away on the delicacies. I recall the family favourites being grandpa's roti prata and grandma's chicken curry. Those were always beautiful times of laughter, jokes and merry-making.

    However, as time passed, we became even busier with our own families and children and it became much harder to coordinate gatherings as a large household.

    In order to overcome this problem, we made it a point to come together for festivities such as Deepavali and the New Year, as well as wedding anniversaries and our parents' birthdays.

    My experience may not be unfamiliar to some. Many Singaporeans today lead increasingly busy lives which may result in them having less quality time for their families.

    Given this, it is even more important for us to seize every opportunity that we get to spend meaningful time with our loved ones. Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD), which takes place today, presents itself as one such opportunity for us to return home earlier, and bond with our families.

    I believe that the act of eating together as a family is extremely important. It is one way of showing that we appreciate each other, enjoy each other's company and be role models for future generations.

    Although we may be hard pressed for time and have other competing needs, family mealtimes are a ritual that families should always keep up. As Singaporeans who are known to be food lovers, what better way could there be to get to the heart of each other, than by filling our bellies!

    Family is the foundation of our society. Spending time with our loved ones should not be left to chance - we must make it happen.

    The importance of placing family as a top priority should be inculcated from a young age. This way, we will help ensure that generations of Singaporeans will go on having a family-first mindset.

    Planning and taking the effort to make a difference in the lives of our loved ones is really worth it. The joy and camaraderie we experience with our families would help to overcome whatever hardships and frustrations we may be facing.

    Today, EWYFD, my family will be meeting my parents, together with my sister's family, for dinner. We will be preparing one another's favourite food and desserts and have dinner together in the good old style.

    Will you be eating together with your family as well?


    The writer is a council member of Families for Life.