Redeeming Dinner – 7 Steps to Leading through Meals

Redeeming Dinner – 7 Steps to Leading through Meals

The bible tells us, “where there is no vision the people perish”. It’s not a quick death. It’s a long slow disintegration that happens over time. This is true of nations, companies, churches… it’s also true of families. The leaders (Mom and Dad) MUST have a vision of a preferable future and that leader must take advantage of strategic opportunities to move the organization closer to that goal. 

Do you have a VISION for your family? Where do you see this thing going? Where do you see your family in 5 years, 10 years, 50 years? Will you all love and support one another? Will you actively engaged in each other’s lives? 

Men in particular. According to scripture YOU are the head of the family. Headship means leadership. For better or worse, you family is where it is today in large part because of YOUR leadership. Sadly, many of us guys think more strategically about our favorite college football team than we do about our own family. This year, I want to help you change that. You see, the HOLIDAY season is a strategic opportunity to CLARIFY vision and MOVE your family toward that vision.

Zig Ziglar once said, “to fail to plan is to plan to fail”. If you fail to sit down with your spouse and plan to make this season a win…it will be just another hectic, disengaged, sadly a lost opportunity. 

Here is what I have learned – When you fail to lead through the holidays, the most mentally and emotionally unstable member of your extended family will always be in charge. 

The good leader can leverage traditions to move the family closer to the vision he or she has. If you use Traditions rightly, the holiday really can be a Holy day

The first tradition I want to mention is that of MEALS. History is often told as a series of great people or great events. One theologian suggested that it may be understood as a series of meals. Think about it – History began with a meal – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden. History ends with a meal – the Marriage supper of the Lamb. And there are two great meals in between – Passover and Communion. 

In the Jewish Community – the Lord has woven a series of 7 Feasts into their annual experience with very specific, choreographed, well planned requirements for each feast. WHY? Because God knows, that the TABLE is ground zero for family identity. The battle is often won or lost at dinner. 

Go back a generation or two – think, “Leave it to Beaver” the Cleaver family all sat down and ate together in a dining room that was built and decorated for that purpose. Everyone was well dressed, mannerly. There weren’t three different conversations going on, everyone talking over one another. There was one conversation and typically there was teaching that took place led by mom and dad. 

Fast forward a generation to “All in the Family”. Their home was an open floor plan, they ate in the living room. While still more formal than most today, every meal magnified the differences between Archie and Meat Head and typically ended up in a fight. Which meal most accurately represents your Christmas dinner? 

If you don’t like the direction your meals are taking your family, change them. Here are a few things to consider. 

  1. Start Small – Don’t make massive overhauls all at once. Introduce one or two new concepts at a time. Perhaps, moving from the living room with the TV on, to the Dining room with no social media. 
  2. Work as a Team – The husband and wife (and hopefully the kids) will recognize the need for a shift and work together to move a new direction. 
  3. One Convo – I learned this from Michael Hyatt, in passing years ago. Have a simple rule that states we will not have multiple conversations going, but rather we will have one conversation that allows everyone to contribute. 
  4. Invest – As you are able invest time, money, and mental energy into making the meal a wonderful experience. Use the best ingredients, study the art and science of preparing and presenting a meal. People tend to rise to the occasion make sure they know this meal is special. 
  5. Learn Manners – Here is a good primer
  6. Have a Plan – Many times, something will come up naturally. But if it does not, have a plan. Think ahead about a conversation starter that will allow a platform to convey a truth that will disciple and unify your family. 
  7. Set the Tone – The tone of the meal is set by the blessing. Convey genuine thanks to the Lord that recognizes that we are all recipients of His unmerited grace and favor. 

I’m sure there are many more you can come up with. The goal is to use the family meal, especially holiday meals to lead your family toward a preferable future. I hope this post helps!

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