This week the New York Times has had two articles about the effects of texting on our social relationships. I was interviewed for the article that appears in today's paper, "Play With Your Food, Just Don't Text!", but alas, no quotes from me appeared. I'm both relieved and a little disappointed, and the experience has definitely been one filled with learning for me. I was originally contacted as a mental health practitioner working to help families have more meals together. I was excited as this is right up my alley and exactly the message I'm trying to get out. The article evolved into an article on texting at the dinner table. I had told an anecdote about my husband and I catching our 13 year old trying to hide her texting one night at the table. As soon as her eyes glanced down at her lap we knew what she was up to and confiscated her phone. Fortunately this was an isolated incident and we don't allow gadgets at the table. I was concerned how I would be portrayed in this anecdote - thus my relief that I wasn't portrayed at all.
But reading the article and some of the readers' comments on it has got me thinking. It can be really difficult to gather a family together to have a meal, but then once you're all there, other obstacles can get in the way of an enjoyable meal together. For my family, there are several - my children's sometimes picky eating, boisterous behavior, my husband's occasional emergency phone calls for work, and having to rush on to another activity after dinner are the obstacles that come quickly to mind.
What gets in the way of enjoying meal time together for your family? I'd love to hear about your challenges.