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Family Dinner Inspiration

hawthorneschool

Laurie recently gave a presentation to the families of Hawthorne Elementary School in Los Angeles on the benefits of the family dinner. Grenda David (no relation), a parent and head of the Hawthorne PTA, sent a lovely, generous, inspiring thank you note, which we would like to share with you:

Dear Laurie,

You must know by now that you are changing lives, which must rewarding on so many levels. Yesterday, you changed the lives of a room full of families at Hawthorne School. The comments I’ve received from the women who heard you speak touched me deeply. As I drove away I smiled to myself seeing your book tucked under the arms of women talking in little groups all along the sidewalk because I knew families (and kids) were about to be changed. And then there was the conversation we had around our own dinner table last night. Our ten year old didn’t want to come to the table. She wanted to keep her face stuck in a screen, but we insisted. And, of course, she wanted to scarf down her food, and get back to the screen, but we insisted that she remain at the table with us. And, we had a conversation, as painful as that was for her. We talked about you and the quality of food in America today. We talked about how food used to be grown in America and our family roots, and how my Aunt’s family in a little town in Mississippi still grows everything they eat on their land. With our girls fully engaged in conversation, we decided to convert part of our very tiny front yard into an edible garden. To watch our ten year old transform from a grump monster into an inspired enthusiastic participant was incredible. She wants to begin gardening today…something that doesn’t involve a screen and we can do together as a family!

Our family is a living testament to the power of family dinners. We have a blended family. It was home cooked meals made with love and served at our dinner table over and over again on varying custodial schedules that has made our family work. I remember the first family dinner we had together. My step kids refused to eat what I had cooked. But, I kept cooking. I knew that if I kept loving them, and if I kept cooking with love, they would eventually take a bite. They did. And, those bites turned into incredible relationships and I remain my step kids biggest fans. Today, our boys are grown and away. One has graduated college and is backpacking central America. The other is off at college. When they come home they ask for their favorite meals, and I can’t wait to cook for them. It’s our greatest joy to have our kids at our table. They walk in the door, they hug and kiss me. They eat what I’ve cooked and often enjoy seconds. They bring their friends. Our table is a happy place. My food is not fancy food. It’s real food, made with fresh organic healthy ingredients and lots and lots of blended southern Jewish love. My step daughter takes my recipes home for her mom which I gladly share. People ask me how we’ve done it. It was your book that made me realize it was at the dinner table.

Indeed for me, if we are souls living a human experience, the dining table is my family’s altar and the kids are our choir!

Laurie, your book came into my life at a time I needed reminding not to forget how important this time with my family is to me and to them. My continuous prayer is God use me. I think there is no place I see witness to that prayer being answered more fervently than in parenting.

I am grateful for the opportunity to know you Laurie and to be touched by your work. I do hope we can keep in touch. Thanks for all you do to impact our world.

With my heartfelt thanks,
Grenda

 

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