As a parent, one of the most rewarding moments of the day can be when we all sit down together for a meal. Sharing food is such an important part of our culture and being able to see my children sit, enjoy the food, use appropriate manners, have conversation, and take part in this cultural ritual is so satisfying.
This is not my experience at every meal, or even everyday. This is the image I hold in my mind; a peaceful meal, full of healthy conversation, “please pass”, and “these are tastes Brussels sprouts, thanks for preparing them.” I have seen it happen in our family, and I know that it is possible, so I keep that image close, the expectation there for my children to live up to, they will when they can. And having the bar set high allows them to go above and beyond. However, I must temper the high expectation with complete acceptance of what they are capable of that day and clear communication of when they have crossed a line, followed by consistent and expected, natural consequences.