Fifty years ago, dinner time usually meant mom, dad and children sitting at the table together, eating and discussing the events of the day. Today, mealtime for many families means rushing through the drive-through on the way to soccer practice, dance recitals or music lessons.
But eating together could be a simple cure for many of society’s ills, according to the founder of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), Joseph Califano Jr.
Now Califano’s message is getting new support, this time from the occupant of one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s biggest pulpits: New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
In a recent column in Catholic New York, Archbishop Dolan calls Califano a “Paul Revere” for his efforts to get out his message. CASA has been promoting Family Day, which encourages families to eat together, for the past 10 years.
In a statement about the importance of family dinners, Califano said that teens whose families eat together fewer than three times per week are twice as likely as their peers to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to drink alcohol and one-and-a-half times as likely to smoke marijuana.
Family Day 2010 was Sept. 27, but that doesn’t mean families can’t start sitting down at the dinner table tonight and share a meal. As Archbishop Dolan pointed out: “This news is just too darn good to keep to ourselves! ... Let’s start sitting down for a family meal as regularly as possible.”