We’ve learned that hospitality in our home really pays off, especially around our dinner table.

I think back to an article I read in The Washington Times, back in January of this year, where Cheryl Wetzstein writes about statistics taken from Child Trends Inc., regarding kids who come from a strong home life.

“Family meals are still the norm in the American family,” said Brett Brown, a researcher at Child Trends Inc., which recently issued a paper on the importance of eating together.

Teens who eat regularly with their families are more likely to do well in school, delay sexual activity, have better mental health and are less likely to get into fights, think about suicide or smoke, drink or use drugs, he said.

It’s also evident from research that children from all kinds of families — two-parent, single parent, low-income, minority, immigrant — “are likely to eat together,” said Mr. Brown. “For kids who are facing other challenges, this is actually a great strength, an asset that they have.”

This reminds me of a conversation that we had recently with our kids, around our table. Some of their friends were present when we discussed the difference between encouragement and what courage really is.

Encouragement is fostering courage in another person, to build them up to do the right thing. It does not mean that it is always done with comforting words. Doing the right thing is not always easy! To be courageous is to show bravery, many times in the face of fear! A level of sacrifice is almost always involved.

Referring back to my July post, “The Table,” here again is my accronym for the TABLE:

T Talk
A Always safe
B Break bread
L Listen
E Empathize

How about you? Do you make an effort to sit down for family dinners?

(Top photo: our kids discussing an article that caught their attention this morning at breakfast. It was by Focus on the Family, and it was about kids being video game junkies!)