We have a pig. Yup, smack dab in the center of our dinner table is a pig. He's been there for a few years and is responsible for bringing back PEACE to our family dinners. Here's how it happened.
I wanted that dinner table with a hot, healthy meal and a loving family gathered around. My husband would ask grace and then my well-mannered children would pass around the plates of food as we chatted about our day. Yeah, NOT! During one exasperated dinner when my sons repeatedly burped during the prayer and then peas were thrown in protest to somebody chewing with their mouth open, I had had enough! My dinner table was completely filled with correction, not conversation. It was not fun for anybody!
In my desperation for sanity, I grabbed a rubber pig from the top of the toy bin and began a rant about how they were behaving like three little pigs. Their mama fear turned into belly laughter as I laid down the new law of dinner time.
- If you burp, toot, or make an inappropriate bodily noise, you get the Pig!
- Every time you have a sharp tone or rude words, you get the Pig!
- If you chew with your mouth open, or... try to throw food into somebody else's mouth while it's open, you get the PIG!
- Napkin in your lap, not on top of your sister's head or else, PIG!
- Rocking in your chair, getting our of your chair, falling out of your chair, PIG!
- The pig will move from person to person as laws are broken.
- Whoever ends up with the pig at the end of dinner does everybody's dishes.
I felt better and they were roaring in laughter. This was our new dinner standard. Still is. It's not your regular chalkboard saying, "In this family, we love... we forgive... we say please and thank you." But it's ours.
The dinner table is no longer a place of constant correction; we just pass the pig. The behavior that used to bring dissention to our meal, now has brought laughter... and with that, joy... and a table I want to sit at.
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