The Hour that Matters Most, a 5 Minutes for Books review

by Jennifer Donovan

What makes a family dinner so effective — that is, a family dinner that is eaten without electronic distraction — is that it provides time for a family to communicate. Serious issues could be discussed, like hopes and dreams, bad or good things that happened that day, but that time often ends up as a way to share some laughs or catch up on the mundane. All are important, but if you can’t communicate well, that time won’t be used to the fullest.

We all know that eating dinner together is important. Study after study has proven it. But do you know that when teenagers are surveyed, a vast majority of them wish for more time with their parents? Do you know that once a family dinner habit is established, kids value that time and wish for more of that as well?

No guilt served up, but plenty of communication tips

Who needs guilt about not doing what we know is right? Not me. And in The Hour that Matters Most, instead of a big guilt trip, we are given strategies to maximize those times we do get together.

Les and Leslie Parrott are marriage and family counselors, so the perspective and practical tips for communication they offer are backed with years of experience. They’re simple, and they make sense, which will hopefully make them easy to remember and use.

But what if you don’t have time to cook?

In addition to being authored by the Parrotts, Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna are credited as contributors. Allen and Kuna founded the Dream Dinners chain that provides a place for people to come together and assemble meals to be stored in the freezer. I wondered how much of this brand would feature in the book, and I was pleasantly surprised that it’s not pushed down the reader’s throats one bit. The women started the business out of a belief that it’s important to gather around home-cooked meals and as a way to make it easier for people to serve them. They share some of their own experiences, and a few simple recipes, but instead of continuing to push their business, they even share how you could start a “fix-and-freeze” club in your own home.

A book for every family

Since Tyndale is a Christian publisher, I expected this book to include a Christian perspective, but honestly — this book is written to appeal to the masses, even those who have different or no religious practices. The chapter on “cultivating deeper values” is about just that — values, not religion, and though the “Counting Your Blessings” chapter talks about “saying grace” before meals, the focus of the chapter is actually on cultivating gratitude.

I highly recommend The Hour that Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal for families of all shapes and sizes.

We don’t have a giveaway on this post this week (but come back each and every Monday for a new book review with giveaway), but I’d love to start a dialogue about family meals here. Leave a comment and tell me which meal is a big hit with everyone in your family. Or maybe you remember a meal that was an epic fail. Either way — let’s talk about it!

I also want to remind you that you can enter to win one of TWELVE copies of The Hour that Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal at the introductory post here at 5 Minutes for Mom. Just leave a comment ON THAT POST about what you love about family dinners.

The winners of Bailey are:

If you like book giveaways, please remember to keep up with 5 Minutes for Books. We feature at least two giveaways each week. We have SIX giveaways that are still open right now. Check them out.

Jennifer Donovan loves her gig managing the team at 5 Minutes for Books. She also blogs on Snapshot (though book blogging has been more of a priority lately).



Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Johane September 26, 2011 at 6:42 am

We love our Sunday Dinners… We have our typical roasted meal, often we even have candles lit. We sit and we talk about what has been going on over the weekend and plans for the week. With teenagers and extra-curricular activities weekday family meals don’t always happen, but Sunday Dinner isn’t missed.

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2 Jennifer September 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

Candles are always fun. It makes it seem like a real occasion. I’ve been meaning to buy some good ones for the dinner table!

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3 Rose September 26, 2011 at 6:43 am

I agree that having a dinner is a very important habit, not only for the kids, but for the whole family and it should be kept!

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4 Debs Dealz September 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm

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