The Hour That Matters Most

When was the last time you had a sit-down dinner with every member of your family present? Are you like most families these days, running around to different activities every afternoon and grabbing dinner whenever you have a few spare minutes?

When our parents were growing up, family meal time was a ritual that would not be compromised. Parents, kids, and teens gathered around the dinner table to eat, relax, and discuss their days together.

I’m one of the lucky ones – dinner time was sacred when I was a kid, and even if we were eating left-overs, we ate at the same time, sitting down at the table together. My mother instilled the importance of family dinners in me.

When I got married and had kids of my own, it didn’t even occur to me that there was any other way to eat dinner. Although I may not cook fabulous meals every night, I make it a point to gather everyone to the kitchen to spend that hour together.

The family dinner table is not really about the food – it’s about the time spent together.

Les and Leslie Parrot have written a book called The Hour that Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal and I couldn’t agree more with their premise.

The Hour that Matters Most Synopsis:

The facts are on the table. Dinnertime is truly the most important hour in a day that a family can spend together. Focusing on the family meal, this book will help strengthen families by showing them how to reclaim this important time in order to build relationships, draw closer to one another, and restore a sense of peace in their homes. Millions of parents in America can picture the kind of home life they want but don’t know how to make it a reality. The Hour That Matters Most will help readers strengthen and transform their own families—specifically around the dinner table.

You can find out more about The Hour that Matters Most and its authors, Les and Leslie Parrot with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna at the book’s website, or you can purchase a copy or download the kindle version at

Check out these 3 book reviews with 3 different perspectives:

We’re giving away The Hour That Matters Most

We are giving away 12 (twelve!) copies of The Hour That Matters Most. To enter to win this giveaway, let us know in the comment section what you love about eating meals together.

This giveaway will run through October 14, 2011 at midnight and 12 winners will be chosen at random shortly after the end date. Please see our site’s terms and conditions for more information.

Written by 5 Minutes for Mom managing editor Lolli. You can find Lolli blogging at Better in Bulk and tweeting at @1momof5.


  1. says

    I love the coming together and connecting, we usually laugh, we share, we take the time to touch base with each other and share our joys and our burdens. I love our family dinner times.

  2. Jill says

    I love that we established dinner with our son right from the beginning. I recently vacationed with some family where everyone went in different directions with their plates. My three year old was confused and upset at that event. Needless to say, things were a little tense at dinner that night but the rest of the week went much with some terrific conversations that would never have happened otherwise.

  3. says

    What I love most about eating meals together is watching the way my daughter’s face lights up when every stops to hear what she has to say about something that happened during her day. It gives me such joy to give her that positive attention that every child deserves!

  4. P Fawcett says

    I love sharing our stories of the day. And pulling my husband out of his workday fog. LOL. Recently we have been cutting small articles from the paper for our 9- and 11-year old to read and discuss. It’s been a real joy to see them get involved. Especially listening to my son debate the merits of Sponge Bob after learning that watching can make children less intelligent. :-)

  5. Elizabeth says

    With four kids from preschool through jr high, I love that we can all reconnect at the end of our days. I think the shared prayer time we have before the meal helps with that connection. Everyone gets a turn to contribute and it really binds us together as a family.

  6. says

    We have twin 4 year olds and we make sure to turn off the tv, put away the laptop, and sit down to eat dinner together every night. We think it’s vital to our family life!

  7. Stacey says

    I always have my family sit down at our table to eat. It is the one time that I request everybody to sit at the table and share their day with me.

  8. Amy says

    My son is only one, but he eats at the table in his high chair while we eat our meal. Once he gets older, he will sit down with us . Love family time!

  9. Sylvia says

    I love catching up on the days events with the hubby and kids. In this hectic world, dinner time is sometime the only time we have to relax and catch up with each others’ lives.

  10. says

    I LOVE eating dinner with my family – but especially larger holiday meals when the whole family can get together. It lets everyone relax and forget any troubles that may be around the corner and just enjoy each others’ company.


  11. says

    Dinner is one thing my family has always shared. Even as a child we would sit down every night and eat dinner together. It’s a time when we can all sync up. No matter where our days take us we touch base at dinner time and reestablish the connections that make us a family. Needless to say it is my favorite time of day.

  12. says

    Eating dinner is one of the things about our day that is most important to me. It’s our chance to sit down and talk about our day and re-connect after being apart all day. There’s just something about that I see as sacred family time.

  13. tennille says

    Hubby is a firefighter so we don’t always get to eat together but we love to prepare a meal together. Our 3 year loves to help out with prep too! And then to sit down and enjoy what we have created and be able to share our day is very important to us.

  14. Erin says

    Eating together has always been a priority for our family. Now that my oldest is in school, I love being able to hear details about her day.

  15. Mercedes Yardley says

    We have little ones, so it’s a time to learn table manners, please-and-thank yous, and that broccoli is called something besides “little trees”. It’s a very sweet time for us. :)

  16. Grandma D says

    I love my family eating together. They have all left home so now we only have meals together at special occasions. Their families eat together every night, lesson learned!

  17. Amy says

    We just moved and have a big kitchen. we love having friends and family over to eat and talk. we usually sit for hours at the kitchen table.

  18. says

    The laughter is my favorite part of family meals together! Usually my youngest does something funny or my oldest says “Remember when…” Moments I cherish!

  19. Tracey says

    We do a great job in our family at eating together. We taught them from the time they were still infants basically that it is time to sit together and eat. Of course, they are still fairly young (7 & 4) so I’m sure we will have a more difficult time once the activities really begin. I have friends that struggle in this area completely and would love to share this book with them. I also would love to check it out and get more tips on conversation starters too!

  20. Lisa K. says

    I love eating with my family because we get to have an hour of calmness and time to talk about our day or things going on in our life! We can reconnect!

  21. says

    Because of our busy schedules, my son and I often eat out, but we are trying to set at lest 2 nights a week where we sit at the table and eat together. I like doing this because it gives me a chance to hear more about him and his thoughts and feelings on things.

  22. says

    This is my FAVORITE time of day and I actually have it listed as a title for one of my upcoming Blog Posts. It was something I did with my family growing up and now that I have a family of my own, I want to continue the tradition. Its so very important to me. I want our children to connect with us and I’m thankful that this is a time that brings us together, forces us to talk, look at each other, pray together, laugh. Its the best! I like to cook and LOVE watching my family enjoy the healthy meal I prepared for them. We usually have Contemporary Christian Music playing in the background and I just really enjoy this hour! 😉

  23. JUNE says

    Some how I entered this on a different page. Was wondering why there was no other comments posted. Looks to be very good reading for the entire family.

  24. Kerrie Mayans says

    I love hearing about my kids day and finding out what my husband did at work and sharing what I and the baby did with them each evening when we eat dinner. We also talk about what we will be doing the next day and add things to the schedule for the weekend

  25. says

    This is so true! I find it nearly impossible to have the same family time as we once did. Between sports, homework and jobs it is so hard to get everyone together…I’ll check this book out.

  26. says

    I love family dinners as a way to connect with my kids after a busy day! We are together all day long but often busy and distracted by all of the “to-do’s” so I love a time when we can get together, I can find out more about their day and just enjoy their company.

  27. Margaret says

    I love eating together because it’s a chance for the family to really connect. Unfortunately My husband works long hours so we don’t always get the chance so when we do it makes it that much more special regardless of it being breakfast,lunch or dinner.


  28. Margaret says

    Okay I think my first entry didn’t work so here it goes again…..

    I love eating together because it allows my family to really connect. Unfortunately my husband works long hours and doesn’t always have meals with us but when we do it is all the more special.


  29. Samantha R says

    I love talking with my family. and I love just sitting with them after a busy day…we all take time to relax and enjoy eachother!

  30. says

    We’ve learned that meals together can be so much fun. We keep stressful issues “off the table” and just talk about fun and interesting things. If the conversation lags, we have some conversations starters that always help — i.e. What was the silliest thing you saw or heard today? Or if you could travel to any place on the planet, where would you like to go and how would you get there? What if cars had never been invented? Meals together are really popular at our house. Sometimes there are complaints about turning off the TV, but everyone gets over it really fast. This sounds like a wonderful book and I’d be thrilled to add it to our family library. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  31. Mary Preston says

    Eating meals together is a wonderful way to stay connected. To share your day & plan as a family.


  32. Carolyn says

    I’d love to win. With a rush to be home and everyone tired, I feel it is really hard to have a pleasant dinner. I keep hoping it’ll get easier when they are out of the throwing food stage…

  33. Mary says

    We ate dinner at the table while my daughter was growing up and every third night we shared dinner at the fire hall with the family of my husband’s shift partner. Those were special times and I miss them now that our daughter is grown. We still have our fire family every third night.

  34. Michelle says

    I enjoy the together time that having my family around the dinner table provides and while I would love to say it happens everyday or is easy to do is not currently the case in our house. With 4 girls 7 and under including a set of 20 mth old twins and my husband who owns his own business it is not easy to bring us all together but I when we do it really is so wonderful. I am very intrigued about this book and the tips that Les and Leslie can offer to me so I can further improve on this most important hour in my family’s day.

  35. says

    When I was a little girl, the only time that my crazy childhood felt secure and warm was at our family dinners. It was like all the hustle and bustle came to a halt and we just enjoyed each others company. I want that so much for my own family.

  36. says

    With so much going on in the day it’s the one time we have to pause and just enjoy being with one another. We get to catch up on the events of the day and talk about the things that really matter.

  37. says

    Even if we are quietly eating, spending time together is a key part of our day. We don’t manage dinner together every night due to afterschool sports, but when we eat together it is special.

  38. Tami says

    Dinner truly is the ONLY TIME we have together as a family. And I don’t really know how to cook. I am excellent at boxed mac & cheese and boxed pasta & sauce. I would love to put something special on the table for my family.

  39. Shonda says

    I have little ones, but I know this is the time to develop the dinner time routine. I like that it brings the family together and my son is starting to answer questions about his day.

  40. says

    Actually, it seems like dinner time is pretty stressful. I’m trying to remind the kids of their manners, there’s a fight over the last roll, you know, stuff like that. But I think it’s so important to have us all around the table at once, kind of a captive audience and being able to look in one anothers eyes at least once that day!

  41. says

    I loe this post and the idea behind the book. We eat together whenever we can, which fortunately is most of the time (sans my husband, as he’s usually coaching). I love talking to the wee ones and seeing what they’re up to. They come up with the most entertaining observations. This is when I get the real scoop on what’s going on with them – and I can only hope it stays that way!

  42. Christina says

    What I love about eating meals together is finding out things about individual family members that you wouldn’t ordinarily, in conversation, as they’re sated with the happiness of eating food!

  43. Sidni H. says

    It’s not just about sitting together & sharing a meal, our quality time begins as we prepare the meal also. Just taking the time, after a busy week to reconnect & catch up with everyone. We try to share at least 4 dinners a week together which is hard with teenagers nowadays!

  44. says

    We love to be together as a family, so even though all three children are grown and have their own families, we still gather for a meal of choice for each member’s birthday. Food is wonderful, fellowship is even more nourishing!

  45. Marci J says

    It’s a time to reconnect on the daily happenings of our lives – it brings us together physically and emotionally, what better way to bond with everyone than over a meal?

  46. Anita Yancey says

    I love it when I have meals with my husband. It is when we get to do most of our talking, because he works so much. Loved the reviews on this book.

  47. says

    The moments you are with your family is priceless, no matter how simple the meal on table it will turn into a happy feast if the family member is complete. I suddenly missed my family I am separated to them, because I have to work here abroad.


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