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Food For Thought
Research Reveals Students Who Dine at Home With Family Make Higher Test Scores
by Cookie Curci
As we raised our glasses high, papa's words sang out over the dinner table, "Salute' per cent'anni," his deep, rich voice as hardy and pure as the red wine he held in his glass.
"Good luck, for a hundred years," his family echoed back.
I remember how my grandfather's face beamed with pride at these joyous occasions and how our meal never began until each family member had taken their seat at his grand dinner table.
That same, old, dinner table is still in use today, with its cracks and weakening chairs it remains a treasure to me and the memories it evokes, priceless and everlasting.
Today's experts are finding out what my parents and grandparents already knew about sharing mealtime, that making family meals a priority is more than worth the nourishment it brings to the body and soul, but it also sharpens our mental faculties as well.
Consider a recent survey from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The NMSC profiled National Merit scholars from the past 20 years trying to find out what these stellar students had in common. They were surprised to find that, without exception, these kids came from families who ate together three or more nights a week.
Not only can family meals make your kids smarter; spending quality time together over dinner can also contribute to your children's emotional and spiritual growth. After all, it's when you're all together sharing the details of your day that real bonding happens. And kids who feel close to their families are more likely to take the family's value system to heart.
Years ago, Papa, as head of our family, always gave a few words of gratitude for the meal we were about to receive; he would thank grandma who prepared the food for us, and gratitude for the job that paid for it, and sometimes he added a little practical advice for the family to dwell on.
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