One of the tradition’s at Average Catholic’s household is to make dinner count 🙂 The great thing about dinner is that the entire family is gathered together. Mother, Father and all seven kids are already gathered ready to eat.
As many families do, we start with the table blessing. I try to alter who says the table blessing each day. The oldest three kids all can lead the blessing. However, my six year old almost always insists, after the table blessing, in saying the Guardian Angel prayer, her favorite prayer. At which point my four-year old son usually wants to say the “Holy Holy Holy” prayer (the Sanctus). He needs a bit of help with it, but it is sweet that he wants to pray.
Dinner is, well, dinner. With seven kids, six of whom are under ten (the other one is about to take driving lessons), dinner can get lively, but my wife and I have come up with rules to keep things under control. Such as no standing up to “get things” without permission, one person always being designated to pour drinks (which usually falls to my teenager).
After dinner we say a decade of the Rosary. In five days we go through a set of mysteries. I will trade on and off with a couple of the kids leading it.
Finally, unless we are running low on time, I will read from a book for 10 minutes or so. This is a fairly new tradition. I will read to the little ones before bed. But reading at the end of dinner has stopped the kids from wanting to abandon the table as soon they were done eating.
Currently we are reading “The Shepherds of Fatima” by Father John De Marchi. It was published in 1952, when people who knew the children Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were still alive, and had been interviewed by the author. The book is engaging and very readable, written specifically for children but also informative for adults.
The personalities children of the story are described in detail, and the life of Fatima in the early 20th century comes alive. This includes a game little Jacinta would play, as she tried to teach the “Echo” of the hills around Fatima how to pray, and how Francisco had a gentle spirit, and did not like to continue playing games when the other boys would start fighting and getting rough with each other.
The story goes all the way through the visions of Mary to the children, and the Miracle of the Sun, promised by Mary, that happened on October 13, 1917.
After we finish “The Shepherds of Fatima”, we will go onto other books. I am not sure if we will re-read The Hobbit, maybe some Magic Tree House books, other faith-based kids book, or something else. But it is always fun, even if at times the youngest kids have a bit of trouble sitting still 🙂
P.S. – Anyone who wants to check out the The Shepherds of Fatima, it is HERE.