Thanksgiving is truly one of those few special times we have to emphasize the importance of family. However, too many people in this hurried day and age are just way too busy to focus on giving extra time to their loved ones. They would much rather focus on their careers and other personal endeavors rather than spending a few traditional moments with the family. If nothing else can help bring the family back together, at least families should have their Thanksgiving family meal at the dinner table.
For one thing, a traditional sit-down meal enhances the significance of the meaning of Thanksgiving. The holiday has its roots embedded in the early years of the nation when settlers and natives were trying to find ways to live among one another peacefully. Sharing the autumn harvest was one way to trade weapons for forks and spoon and to share values and believes that they found to be not that uncommon. Using the traditional Thanksgiving setting today can promote those same kinds of values and believes, even within family members themselves. For my family, we seldom have time devoted to sitting down and sharing daily thoughts, but the Thanksgiving dinner provides that option. It reminds us of when the kids were young and we were always close and dependent upon one another.
According to Sarah Klein, contributor for Health.com website, eating with the family can reduce the stress that often adds burdens to people’s lives (Sec 8). I believe this is a really good idea.In a 2008 research conducted by Brigham Young University, “sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office,” (Sec. 8).
Sitting down to an extended Thanksgiving dinner provides family members with a chance to “Catch up” with everyone’s current activities. Siblings and parents often go days and even weeks without taking with one another. Having everyone face-to-face, especially with the extended layout of the Thanksgiving feast, forces members to talk with one another (otherwise they will suffer from the potential “over-stuffed belly” when eating the tasty fare too quickly). Family members who live away from home will be able to bring their loved ones up to date on issues in a way they just can’t do over the phone or via social media. And even kids who live at home will have a special opportunity to sit face-to-face with a mom and dad or siblings they may not have seen for more than a minute or two in the last month. Oftentimes, family members will use the holiday occasion to announce wedding engagements, job promotions or even the soon-to-arrive new member to the family.
“Eating alone can be alienating,” said Cody Delistraty in an article published online by The Atlantic. “The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work. (Sec. 3)
Perhaps most importantly, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner can help to promote family values that have been acquired over a lifetime. Families with a strong religious background may take this time to say Grace, something they may not have done since last Christmas or even Thanksgiving. Parents and grandparents often use the moment to share with their family words of love and appreciation prior to kicking off the meal. And when chow-down time starts, the meal itself provides a wonderful opportunity for members to practice good manners and etiquette. How else are they going to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to taste the cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, oyster stuffing and other sides that make the meal so special. It also helps to enhance the experience of enjoying the wonderful food when everyone waits to dig in until everyone is served.
According to an article published online by Cornell Cooperative Extension, mealtime is one of the most significant opportunities for children to talk with their parents. The article suggests that parents turn off the TV and cell phones and to ask children about their daily activities (4).
Oftentimes, families feel a little hesitant to provide a traditional Thanksgiving dinner if loved ones don’t share the same viewpoints, such as when someone in the family is a vegetarian. Rather than forfeit the entire concept of Thanksgiving dinner, why not use this situation as a positive. Allow the vegetarian to provide a special dish to replace the turkey and other meat-based foods. Not only will that express how important this is to the family member, it will also allow other family members to “test” the uncommon dishes. If a few more members suddenly decide to try vegetarianism, that would not be a bad thing for our world in general. Most importantly, it will show how true love among family members provides for acceptance of differing views and values.
Health.com also promotes the nutritional value of eating dinners as a family. Children who eat at the table ate more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. The setting also provides an opportunity for “discussions of nutrition and provision of healthful foods,” said Matthew W. Gillman, MD, (Klein, as quoted in Sec. 2).
Other people argue that such an archaic tradition as the Thanksgiving dinner does not promote individuality. I feel the opposite is true: seclusion, if everyone goes off and eats on his and her own time schedule, does nothing to promote individuality. Individuality is best highlighted among large groups of people. If ten people with tattoos get together to share their freedom of bodily expression, then there is little individuality involved in their gathering. But when they share their body artwork with one hundred tattoo-less people, they really do make a strong statement. If the family does not meet at the table for dinner, there is no audience to recognize the individual traits of each family member.
Sure, there are going to be cases when family members cannot attend the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Some may have to work on that day (with the increase in holiday shopping on the holidays, for instance), and some may not be able to travel back home from their current location. But we can’t let those kinds of setbacks hurt the true meaning of family gatherings. A phone call during the height of the meal to someone who wasn’t able to make it may make that loved-one’s day just a little more bearable, especially with the promise that everyone will try to get together at the next big holiday to repeat the wonderful time they’ve had today.
A traditional meal can help to enhance the traditional holiday while offering families a chance to catch up with one another. It also acts as an opportunity for family members to emphasize their own personal values. Eating at the table may make the holiday that much more special. If you’ve ever experienced a time away from family during important events, then you know how important it is to take advantage of what few family opportunities we have available during these busy times.
Cook, Eliza and Rachel Dunifon, “Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference?” Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cornell University, 2912. Web.
Delistraty, Cody, “The Importance of Eating Together,” The Atlantic. July 18, 2014. Web.
Klein, Sarah, “8 Reasons to Make Time for Family Dinner. Health.com. Health Media Ventures, Inc. 2016. Web.
This is a simple topic- something most anyone has experienced. You don’t need to choose a complex or controversial issue to write a solid argumentative essay. Take a stand and support that stand using the basic structure of argument. Please note that added research is boldfaced in the essay- it was added after the argument itself had been written.