Dinner table conversations with the Myers’
Deiriai Myers CONTRIBUTOR
Image: Bonefide Wealth
Family means different things to different people. For some, family includes blood relatives but for others it may be close, supportive friends. The important quality that binds a collection of people is love and support. As humans, we seek these attentions from others so that we can exist happily in the greater society. Additionally, it is from these people called family that we seek advice. The lessons learnt and shared experiences is what makes a family’s bond stronger. For me personally, a strong family unit includes people who are willing to provide support, take responsibility, and are interested in your overall wellbeing. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a family that provides all of the above which is even more important now that I am miles away at university. Given this, the most cherished memories of my family are the times we gathered to have meals, whether it was Sunday afternoon lunches or weekday dinners. This time was allocated to checking up on each other’s days and discussing current events.
I grew up in a nuclear family with my two parents and my younger sister, and it was not until my teenaged years that my maternal grandmother moved in with us. I am also closely connected to my mother’s sisters and maternal cousin and to this day we all communicate daily via WhatsApp. Even though we reside in different parts of the world we still make the extra effort to stay in touch. Family members’ birthdays were joyfully celebrated with cake, ice cream, and other snacks in person or celebrated over Skype. This is a testament to our closeness as a family. Otherwise common family conversations involved the children’s academics and social life at school and our extracurricular activities.
Sunday afternoon lunch was my favourite meal time. Cell phone use was not encouraged at the table because emphasis was put on conversing with those who were partaking in the meal with us. The television being on was not a distraction, rather the subject matter on screen was often the topic of discussion, whether it be local and international news or sports. My parents were always concerned with how our academics were going, as well as interactions with classmates and friends. The conversations would often extend beyond eating and sometimes if my father had not said, “It’s time to do school work!” then we would have spent an extra hour sitting at the table talking. It was at these table discussions that I learnt some valuable lessons, most of which I carry with me today. In fact, I attribute my success thus far to the informative discussions I had at the dining table.
This encouraging environment allowed my sister and I to step out into the world with confidence in overcoming any obstacles presented to us. The support is felt even though I am currently residing thousands of miles away at university. Knowing that my family is always there to share advice and support me in my tasks keeps me grounded and focused on what I came here to achieve. Respect for myself and others as well as honesty were common themes in the advice given by the adults at the table.
I am not only grateful for the advice and life experiences but also the opportunity to speak freely in what I would describe as a safe space. A space which allowed positive discussions free of negative criticisms, a space that allowed me to develop my conversational skills such that when I entered the world I would not be afraid to converse with others of differing opinion. In the Myers’ household, Sunday afternoon lunches were much more than enjoying the delicious food prepared but a time to bond as a group of people all with a common goal: the growth and development of each other in a positive environment.