how I include our kids at dinner parties

Having a servants heart and a great work ethic are huge in our family.

And though my Evening to Nourish events are geared around us grown-ups having the ability to have time away from the pull of our children, my kids help throughout.

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It's become sort of a family event, really. Though some things take longer because I'm showing and instructing them how to do something, it's also a breath of fresh air having their assistance.

We work together setting the table and deciding what looks good.

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I take their opinion into account and often let them make final decisions (like how the centerpieces should be displayed and how the appetizers should be placed on the table).

I'll remind them what order the silverware goes in next to the plates, and how the water glass should be just above the knife.

But if it's not perfect...not exactly spaced correctly, or something's a touch out of place, I leave it.

I feel that fixing it shows I don't truly appreciate their help and that it's not good enough. I want them to have confidence in their work and know that they ARE good enough and that I love their efforts!

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During my dinner parties, they're also in charge of bringing out the food, refilling water, and clearing plates.

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Again, learning how to give selflessly is so important.

As is learning how to interact with adults.

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I ask that they all wear "nice" Church-type clothes. Six-year-old Laith often comes down buttoned incorrectly and I may ask if he wants to fix his shirt so it lays correctly... but if he doesn't care, I generally leave it.

I want to foster excitement for these evenings. Not feel like they have to be perfect and everything surrounding the evening needs to be perfect, either.

I don't want to take the fun out of it all and I'm afraid if I nit-pick, that's exactly what's going to happen.

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For the most part, I ask the kids to stay inside unless they're checking to see if we need anything.

Every so often however, they'll see one of their favorite people (a teacher, friend's mom, or sunday school teacher) and want to spend a little extra time at the table.

nourish june 13

I decided to pay Abreham $15 for the evening because he was going above and beyond cleaning. Sweet buddy wouldn't take it, but every month I'll continue to offer.

Since our dishwasher is small and many of our party plates, etc need to be washed by hand anyway, the countertops are filled. Cleaning up at the end of the night after everyone has gone is my least favorite job.

But having our sweet son helping out, with a joyful spirit, changes my perspective.

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A friend had a conversation with him as she was leaving for the evening and posted his comment on Facebook along with a photo of him working. What he said to her was, ".... I used to not like to work hard, I didn't think it was important... but now, I see that I am special to God, because I am able to work hard... to help people..."

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I hope all our kids...mine and yours...understand that.

It's a hard concept to learn, especially when they're young and are still learning to live outside themselves.

But it's so important for who they grow to be, both now and in the future.

let them help

 What do you think? Do you make having people over into a family-affair?

How do you help foster a spirit of serving and hard work in your family?

I'd love to know!! take joy-signature-new-pink