An hour a day

OK. I’ll admit it. When I picked up a book titled The Hour That Matters Most and discovered it was about the importance of family mealtime, I felt guilty before I read a word. See, in our season of life, “family dinnertime” is more like “see how quickly we can get this over with” time. I have two kids under the age of 4 and my husband, working his way through seminary as a waiter, is rarely home for dinner. If I’m not already frazzled from cooking dinner, then by the time we sit down to eat, I’m usually just waiting for the chaos to begin.

What I found in the book was not what I expected. Instead of heaping guilt on me for not being a better mother who provides healthy, nutritious homemade meals for her family every night and patiently instructs her children in proper etiquette and conversation, authors Les and Leslie Parrott, and Dream Dinners entrepreneurs Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, sympathize with busy families. For the latter two, being busy moms was the catalyst for their business, which started as a couple of friends getting together once a month to prepare meals they’d later freeze.

The book, itself, is an interesting mix of practical, how-to-make-this happen tips, recipes and anecdotes. After reading it, I’m inspired. To plan ahead so that having homemade meals is more feasible. To seek out other women who might be interested in group meal planning and assembly. To intentionally engage my kids in conversation around the table.

I feel empowered to make a difference in my kids’ lives just by sitting around the dinner table.

My only complaint about the book is that it draws from many of the Parrotts’ previous books. So, if you’ve read anything else they’ve written, you might find it repetitive, though it seems the quoted material is adapted for this subject.

Final word: It’s a surprisingly good read.

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I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my review.

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