The most powerful influence throughout my lifetime has been consistent family meals where everyone in our household gathers to connect, reflect, and break bread. This has provided me with an understanding of how to develop healthy relationships through inquiring, listening, and sharing, in addition to teaching me appropriate social behaviors. Through daily conversations, we discuss our family values, our priorities, and the positive and negative consequences of choices. Discussing these life lessons strengthens our connection as a nuclear family and better prepares my brother and I for adulthood.
By frequently opening up and communicating with one another, I have learned the importance of being present. Putting down technology, making eye contact, and actively listening has taught me to value connection, a rare skill for my generation. Meaningful connections are a significant contributor to one’s happiness, and setting aside time to intentionally nurture these relationships has become a priority. Relationships require maintenance and mutual contribution, which is exemplified in our family meals where everyone is expected to contribute, weather if that’s setting the table or sharing about one’s day.