Quantcast
Latest Stories

EUREKA!

Making family meals meaningful

By

(Second of two parts)

For the book “Famealy Matters,” compiled by motivational speaker Francis Kong, more than 50 contributors from politics, show business, education, business discussed the importance of making family meals a habit.  How can family meals be made even more meaningful?

Minimize distractions

Movie star Sharon Cuneta says: “Because family meals take place in a casual setting, there is no pressure—guards are down.  Children open up to you in a more relaxed manner … slowly, you find out what’s going on in their lives.  ’Yun pala there are important issues being brought up and you are … given a chance to offer your support.

“It’s not enough to ask them how they are.  You have to be detalyado.  You try to dig deep, probe, talk about things that interest them … Today, there are just too many distractions … but you have to deal with that … and set rules at home.  For us, it’s no TV during weekdays— only a couple of hours on iPods.  At magkasama kaming lahat!”

Basketball player Chris Tiu says:  “We do not have a TV set in the dining area because my parents believe that it’s best to give each other 100-percent attention.  Cell phones are also discouraged, unless one urgently needs to make or take a call.  No one is allowed to leave the table, too, unless there’s a valid reason.  This is one rule that I’d happily follow because it is at the dining table where we share personal stories, talk about various issues, and just have a fun time together!”

Children’s advocate Cathy Babao says, “Never come to the dining table angry or upset.  Stress and animosity must never have a place at the table so that food and mealtimes will always be associated with good memories.  The few times in my life I sat at the table upset over something … always gave me a bad stomach afterwards.  This is why I have always taught my children to dump the negativity … in a creative or productive manner, before coming to the table because the gut absorbs everything, both the happy and the sad.”

Connect with children

PLDT senior vice president Butch Jimenez says:  “Aside from eating with your kids, take time to eat with your children’s friends! … It makes your kids accept you more as one of them and it gives you a chance to understand the world your kids live in … The world is changing or, I must say, has changed.  As one author puts it, ‘Parents have become immigrants of this generation, kids are now the natives.’  With the proliferation of social media, the Internet, smartphones and digital interactivity, parents seem to have been boxed out of the norm.  So, if you’re trying to understand what is going on, if you’re trying to connect with the digital generation, food is still your most potent weapon.”

ABS-CBN Publishing chief executive officer Ernie Lopez says:  “One tradition that we are trying to establish is for my children to say at least two nice things about each other at mealtime.  This is because I noticed that my kids had a tendency to tattletale on and constantly whine about each other.  I took the cue from a teacher in Assumption who had eight children.  She would tell her children to catch each other doing something good so that they could report about it during mealtimes.

“This practice has caused a shift in their attitude—from complaining about each other to complimenting each other.  The same habit also gives me the opportunity to bless them and offer something positive about their behavior instead of reprimanding them for their shortcomings.”

Vice President Jejomar  Binay never eats alone.   Eating together is a family tradition among his children and their spouses and 13 grandkids, who share the Binay house in Makati City.  “I find listening to stories from my grandchildren time well spent.  While they may compete for my attention sometimes, I always make sure I give [them] all … equal time.  I have nicknames for all of them, and they call me Tatay.  I always remind them to say grace before meals and to finish their food.  The older ones bring their plates to the kitchen sink, something they learned from me.”

Keep mealtimes sacred

TV host Boy Abunda says: “Parents and children benefit from spending much time together—not just quality time, but quantity time.  Life is not just about quality.  You won’t always have quality moments, but you can make as much time as possible to spend with your family, be it a simple stroll in the park or a meal together.  The family must likewise stay together—even have meals together—during the good times and the bad.  Just being there is enough.  This practice prepares parents and children for managing even the trying moments they may have in the future.”

Honorary Consul of Malta Paul Aquino recalls that, when he was growing up, his family always ate together. During martial law, family gatherings were limited to Wednesdays, when the family could visit brother Ninoy in jail.  At present, family meals are held on Sundays, complete with discussion and prayer.

“Our family get-togethers are big on fun and the more common topics of discussion are the goings-on in local and global politics.  The debates can get heated but never rancorous.  On the contrary, it’s the candid and continuous exchange of ideas that has strengthened our bond as a family.  My advice to my kids now that they have their own families is that they should designate a date and place where they can meet regularly and share a meal … they should stick to it and hold it sacred.”

Coca-Cola vice president Adel Tamano says:  “Sometimes when we are forced to be away from our family because of work, we think, well, this is for them anyway.  Our job supports our family.  While that may be true, we should also consider that our family, particularly our small children, will benefit much more from our time and attention than from our overtime pay.  Our economic goals shouldn’t rule over our family’s spiritual and developmental needs … Great families aren’t effortless affairs where everyone gets along perfectly;  great families make a commitment to spend time and engage with one another.”

Kabayanihan Foundation founder Alex Lacson says:  “Family meals and prayers are the two most sacred activities in our family.  No one is excused.  No one must be late or is allowed to leave early.  Each one is always expected to share stories … The family meal is like a battery charger.  We get so much love, encouragement and support from one another around the dining table.  And when we get up after each meal, we feel wonderfully recharged for the day—and wonderfully connected to the people we love.”

“Famealy Matters” (compiled by Francis Kong) is available in National Book Store.

E-mail the author at blessbook@yahoo.com.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: cooking , Education , News , Sharon Cuneta




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement