Book Review: The Hour That Matters Most
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now is the time of year, where many times we feel like chickens with our heads cut off. We are often going in a million different directions, stressed out over shopping, Christmas parties and activities, and many other holiday happenings. In the midst of all this stress, one thing that is often set aside is our need to connect to our own families with one-on-one time, especially at meal time. It is this time of year that we need to refocus on the reason for the season and recommit to our families. One of the easiest ways to do this is to enjoy a family meal together.
In their new book, The Hour that Matters Most: The Suprising Power of the Family Meal, Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, aim to help the average American family to refocus and reconnect with one another through the sharing of a daily meal together. According to the authors, sharing a meal together is the perfect opportunity for families to recommit to the family unit that they belong (to come together as a united unit), to show affection and appreciation towards other members of the unit, to have positive communication with one another that is face-to-face versus over the phone, Internet or through text messages, and to just spend time with your loved ones. Sharing a meal also helps families to cultivate spiritual well-being and allows each members a chance to gain insight in coping with stress. A regular family meal is a means to gaining a better family environment for all members and is a chance to deeply reconnect as a family.
Now before you say that you cannot have this ideal dinner time with your family each day, the authors argue that you need to make it work for you. For some families, the ideal family meal is breakfast. For others, it is eating take out pizza by candlelight. What matters most is that you are doing it as a family with little or no distractions (like the tv, cell phones, etc.)
The Hour that Matters Most offers ideas for making meal time work for you as what is fit for YOUR family, as well as menu ideas, recipes, and advice on all aspects of meal-time including parenting advice and how to talk to your kids so that they will talk to you and not tune you out and advice on how to curb conflict at the table. And the authors write in a friendly tone that shows that not every mealtime will be ideal. However it is the effort and the overall commitment to your family meal that will have lasting effects on your family and your families' values.
Another hidden gem in this book is the advice on starting a "fix and freeze" club. The authors are the co-founders of the Dream Dinners meal assembly stores. They offer practical advice for getting meals on the table by utilizing your freezer to your advantage and to gain friendship with others who may be in a similar predicament.
Overall, I was gained some valuable insight as I read this book. It reinforced to me the value of trying to at least have one family meal with my family a day. This is especially important for me to begin now that my kids are young and we can instill in them the importance of being a family unit. During this crazy holiday season, it may be hard to continue with this, but I will continue to try. Because my kids may grow up and not remember that we went and looked at Christmas lights or spent the evening shopping at Wal-mart, but they will remember and hopefully continue with their own families the family meal of the day.
Disclaimer: I was sent an advance copy of the book by the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.