Like everyone else, we moved to Arizona with lots of dreams for our young family. The weather was going to encourage the kids to play outside everyday and not have to walk to school in the snow. Oops! We soon realized that back east the schools closed for snow days, but Arizona schools did not give “hot” days off. We didn’t make a big thing of it because the good outweighed the bad by tons.
We found a house that had everything our little house in New Jersey didn’t which included a formal dining room + an eat-in kitchen. We would finally have that special room where I could use all that “wedding gift Lenox” for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. After a few years we realized that we were paying taxes on the dining room square footage but never used it. It was time to re-think!
We remodeled our house by breaking the wall down between the kitchen and dining room which allowed the cook (me) to actually be part of the conversation that was going on at the table, especially when we had company. A neighborhood realtor had stopped by to see what we were doing and told us that under no circumstances should we eliminate the dining room. As a designer, I didn’t listen to him, I did what I thought would work for our family.
I have been asked by many customers if they should keep the dining room as a formal eating space. My answer depends on the family and how they use it. If there are young children still living in the home, I would suggest using the dining room at least once a week. If there is no “special room for dining,” no problem! It’s not really the room that brings the family together, it’s the family being together anywhere.
Unfortunately, the family dinner time is disappearing mainly due to schedules and lifestyles. Young children are not being taught table manners, conversing with others and family togetherness. By the time the kids are young adults, they eat on the run, text instead of talking and concentrate on their favorite subject – themselves!
I fell that traditions are important for children to have in their lives. They can reflect on these times as they grow up, and can then pass the good old times on to their children and grandchildren. Of course, they can start their own traditions to pass on, as well.
The time to use the dining table and “good” china is now. Everyday should be a special event. All children should have the opportunity to feel important, have a family to talk with and know that they are very special little people.