Medieval Dining...and a {Quiet} Giveaway {day twenty-one}

I don't know about you, but dinner at my house can be a less than savory experience. My boys are now 7 and 10...need I say more? Think cutlery clattering to the floor, inane conversation mostly centering around Mario Bros. with a frequent foray into bodily functions, raucous noise, flailing limbs, and the occasional body tumbling from the chair. I suspect a medieval peasant and perhaps even a caveman would be quite at home at our table.

In an attempt to create a less barbaric, slightly quieter dinner hour, I decided recently to begin reading a daily devotion each night while we ate. In the past, we've done this during both Advent and Lent, and while every night wasn't always perfect, the devotions did occasionally spark a few minutes of calm, meaningful conversation.

I've been reading Sarah Young's devotional Jesus Calling every day since the beginning of January (which I absolutely love), so when I saw a version for kids on Amazon, I snapped it up.

All went well. For two weeks.

And then the mutiny began.

"It says the same exact thing every day," Noah complained. "'I am with you, I am with you. I go before you, I come behind you.' I'm tired of the same message."

Rowan nodded, eager to agree with whatever his older brother said.
Noah had a point. Both the kid's and the adult version of Young's devotional do repeat similar themes, but I, for one, am a slow learner, especially when it comes to all things related to faith. Repetition works for me.

"Well, honey, I think that's because God knows we need to hear the same message repeated over and over," I said to Noah. "We need to be reminded because sometimes we forget that God is with us."

"Well I don't forget," said Noah matter-of-factly, fork poised in the air.

"Me either," echoed Rowan.

It seemed I'd been outvoted, and for once, I decided not to push issue. Medieval dining has resumed at my house once again.

The good news for you in this failed quiet project of mine is that I am giving away my nearly brand-new copy of Sarah Young's Jesus Calling devotional for kids. Don't let my persnickety kids dissuade you -- I love this devotional, and I think it might be the perfect fit...for another family! If you'd like to be considered for the drawing, leave me a comment by midnight tonight. I'll randomly choose one commenter and mail out the book this week.
So what’s the dinner hour like at your house? Any tips for creating a quieter, more civilized mealtime around here?

Want to read other posts in the 29 Days of Quiet series? Click here.

Kyndra  – (February 21, 2012 at 6:03 AM)  

Meals can be zoo-like around here too (three preschoolers  will have a tendency to be very wild especially when dinner and Papa coming home coincide).  The biggest difference for us is what they are doing just prior to dinner, calm activities or helping in the kitchen lead to a calmer dinner table. 

We also have a rule that they must clear their plate of their first serving before doing any significant talking.

Really enjoying your quietness series...K

Mary Bonner  – (February 21, 2012 at 6:28 AM)  

As you know, I use Jesus Calling daily also...I would love to have this version to give to a family in my prayer group.  As you kid is almost 24.

SouthernGalThoughts –   – (February 21, 2012 at 6:36 AM)  

You're a good mama to listen to your boys and take heed.  What works for some (or us) may not work for others (or them).  We're getting rowdy around here again, but it has to do with a toddler at the table when Nora's here combined with a ten-year-old.

Rene Jantzi –   – (February 21, 2012 at 6:40 AM)  

I return to your blog daily and enjoy this 29 day series.  My 4 year old grandson eats with us every evening.  I would like to share the devotionals with him.  Thanks for the opportunity!

Gaby  – (February 21, 2012 at 7:18 AM)  

Our dinners are pretty silly too. We end them with worship, scripture, and prayer but there are nights I want to just give up and let them go watch a video so they quit complaining. It's life :)

Megan Willome  – (February 21, 2012 at 7:27 AM)  

I love how you are responding to this failure--giving another family an opportunity.

Lyla Lindquist  – (February 21, 2012 at 7:36 AM)  

Michelle, we still have these conversations at my table, when we can actually get everybody wrangled in for dinner. We recently had a conversation in which I was schooled on the reason the guys wear compression shorts (as though I might be unfamiliar with their particular body parts, you know, only having managed to be married to their dad for 20+ years, getting pregnant with them, and raising them to their current age which seems it went straight from diapers to walking around the house in their boxers). 

I don' t consider this to be a failed project at your house. I think it was a good test, an experiment, to see what might/might not work. I sure hope formal table devotions is not the true mark of good parenting, or I've been failing for 17 years now. I think the mark is paying attention to the best way for your kids. And a lot of times, that's doing the very thing you do: living your life out in the open in front of them, letting them see how you walk with God, looking for opportunities in the small moments to teach and show. 

(No need to drop my name in the drawing -- my kids are a little older, and this book should get out to one of these other fine folks with younger ones at the table.)

Lara Prachar –   – (February 21, 2012 at 7:38 AM)  

Love it Michelle...I can totally see Noah saying that!!

stgibson19 –   – (February 21, 2012 at 7:48 AM)  

This is one of my most favorite devotionals.  Like you I've been reading it every day since Jan.  A friend gave it to me last year for my b-day.  It's just simply a gorgeous read.

Leigh Ann  – (February 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM)  

What a great idea! I love used books :) 

JosephPote –   – (February 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM)  

Nope!  No tips from me. 

We're down to one ten-year-old boy still at home, but we're still pretty much in the caveman dinner style with "a frequent foray into bodily functions, raucous noise, flailing limbs, and the occasional body tumbling from the chair."

I feel your frustration, Michelle!  =^)

Devotion Mama  – (February 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM)  

I say embrace the rambuncious nature of boys.  Mine run around the room while giving thanks for the food at times.  ;)  I've been thinking about that devotional, but haven't bought it yet. 

joan taylor –   – (February 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM)  

Well, what was once a rambunctious  dining experience, is now an empty nest filled with me and my human like feline.  Dining is a peaceful experience.  But there are many times when I really do miss the pandemonium.  Love this post, Michelle.

mamaabby –   – (February 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM)  

First off, if the giveaway would fall on me, you can pick again since I don't have any room to take it AND I have one stored and ready to ship along with whatever else I packed nearly a year ago!  

Tips? not for your age:} BUT, did you try the Focus on the Family wheel we got at Relevant? I was curious how that would go and hope to use it along with other things as we *soon* have our own little place and can set up life...but I think it has some cool ideas.

Third, this is a double post comment and I absolutely loved your Moses perspective...I have often lamented with him  YET you are so right and how beautiful to draw the parallel to your father-in-love:} I know this is so very true of those I have loved who are gone and I also know their spirits rejoice and can see the good things from where they are:}  It is a grief with so much hope...trusting you all are experiencing that anew!  much love:}

Alyssa Santos  – (February 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM)  

You have a positive approach to perceived failure! But, the word of the Lord will not return void, remember. Ours is a sometimes thankless and frustrating job of scattering seed. God will grow it. We revel in our dinner time digression because we know our kids feel comfortable and that we can dissolve into laughter for dessert. I have used some methods (politeness candles when the kids were little, etc.) that work for a while. Of course, we sometimes have to eat at 8pm in order to have everyone around the table anymore. One thing we like is to take a letter of the alphabet each night and discuss a quality or characteristic of God beginning with the letter. We each get a turn to come up with a word, eg., A, awesome, always with us, all-knowing; B- born to save us, beggars were healed.... We allow stretching the rules in order to allow discussion.

Mama Zen –   – (February 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM)  

I think my daughter would love a devotional like that!

Harriett –   – (February 21, 2012 at 3:39 PM)  

No children?

That's all I can think of --- you know I am childless, and hubby and I are the poster people for "old married" who have said all there is to say to each other, so at dinner time, we just eat and talk about the next yard project. LOL

Actually, I think you need to keep the medieval dining with the cave men -- they will be gone before you know it, and then there will be quiet.


Said like a woman who has no idea what she's talking about since, you know, she has no children. bwha 

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM)  

Harriett, you ALWAYS make me laugh. God bless you, lovely friend.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM)  

Really good ideas, Alyssa - I especially like the letter of the alphabet idea.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 21, 2012 at 4:41 PM)  

Ok, here's where I admit that I am a big recycler and, yes, let's be honest here, thrower-outer! So I suspect I tossed said Focus on the Family wheel we got at Relevant! :) Perhaps it didn't even make it into my suitcase?! I know, I know, I am bad - egads!

Grief entwined with hope, yes -- Abby, that is the perfect description, and I know you know that grief-hope well. Love you, too -- excited that you are gettin SO close to your departure and seeing your dream and calling coming to fruition!!

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM)  

I know, I know, most times I roll with it. But when the cavemen get especially bad, I pine for quiet dining. All in good time, right?

Glenda Childers –   – (February 21, 2012 at 5:20 PM)  

I love the trial and error aspect of parenting. You had a good time for two weeks, and good for you for realizing you and the kids were done. Soon you will find something else that works ... for awhile.

Enjoy the chatter and banging at dinner. :-)


jennifer searls –   – (February 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM)  

Not entering the drawing!!! My boys are 6 and 10. I also eat with barbarians. Remarkable, insightful Barbarians. 

'I am with you, I am with you. I go before you, I come behind you.'


Michelle DeRusha  – (February 21, 2012 at 9:00 PM)  

Glad I'm in good company, Jennifer!

amanda d  – (February 22, 2012 at 8:44 AM)  

This made me laugh. My  kids have this devotional too (I love it!) but my son had a football devotional before this one. I think he may be going back to it ... 

Sandwichink  – (February 22, 2012 at 9:12 AM)  

Hi, I had a lovely time visiting. I could so relate! My girls are grown and now I am blessed with several grandkids on both coasts. I am near half of mine and love sharing God's Word and truths with them. It's not always easy, is it! The book sounds delightful but based on your kids' reactions, I might get that as well. But I'll be interested to hear if you find one that works better - and I'm on the look out as well. Right now, we work on their Upward basketball Bible verses, their homeschool Bible verses and Scriptures I use at SandwichINK. But I would like to find an actual devotional to add to their naptime story time (a bit more peaceful time for us - sometimes...). Thanks again for a great visit and have a blessed day! 

Dianna Kennedy  – (February 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM)  

Oh, Michelle! This makes me laugh -- it sounds JUST like my house - just add in the boys fighting over who gets to sit beside me. Phew. I will miss these days .... someday! 

We use Memoria Press homeschool curriculum, and part of that is the Golden Children's Bible. It can get a bit wordy at times for my little crew, so I love the Tomie DePoala Bible Stories book, too. 

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