These studies have been tossed around for several years now--kids that routinely sit down for a shared family dinner get better grades, are less likely to do drugs, etc. Of course these studies fail to say whether this is about correlation rather than cause and effect. For example, doesn't the ability to sit down for a family dinner point to , some other things
about the family--more stability,parent or parents have 9 to 5 jobs, etc.?
Well, just as white upper middle class people loved to jump on the Mozart Effect. Remember those studies that claimed that kids that listened to classical music was linked to mental development and thus got smarter? This was followed by the creation of an industry. Classical CD's especially for babies, the whole BABY Einstein company, and baby music classes--Kindermusik.
I think we are seeing just the beginning of the "family dinner" industry. Last year, while perusing books at my local library, I noticed a book The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time
I ended up buying a copy of it. It is filled with some recipes but mostly it is about the family dinner-how to make it more interesting and fun, games to play at dinner time, etc. Recently I became aware of website http://www.dinneralovestory.com
. The creator of this blog just published her own family dinner book based on her blog Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table
I have to admit I love the website and the book. But this woman is clearly a bit crazy. She has kept a dinner diary for 14 years! She has written down what she and her husband and then children have had for dinner for 14 years!!!
But I recently discovered that these two are not just lone books are out there throwing a life preserver to all the families out there but there seems to be an industry erupting. Other books:
The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier by Miriam Weinstein.
Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week by Pilar Guzman, Jenny Rosenstrach, Alanna Stang.
and laying it on really thick, My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh.
I am not saying that any of these books aren't interesting books or worthwhile books. As I have admitted I have two of them. But if one looks at this trend as more of an observer than a participant what does it say about America and about family at this point in history?
Is anybody that is not really convinced of the importance of the family dinner going to buy these books anyway? Who is the demographic for these books?
And I am sorry but as the mother of 6 who eat together almost every night the family dinner isn't this magical thing. It is like all things good for you--WORK. Making meals for your family is boring and monotonous. Sure i can summon a warm glow if I think to myself that I am doing something good for my family but how long does last?
My advice to you looking for a way to make money is jump on this train. The mother who drove her kids to Kindermusik class is looking for something else she can do to make sure her kid prospers. So how to jump on this? If you lived in a big city you could start seminars or programs on Family Meals. "Teresa Hill, mother of six, teaches you how to enliven and create family dinners to that will make your family stronger and healthier!!!" Family Dinner packages delivered to upper middle class white people--say a warm Family meal with enrichments (to make it more authentic).