It probably seems like a small thing, and working on Capitol Hill can be among the jobs that make doing it on a regular basis extraordinarily tough, but sitting down for meals with your spouse and kids may well be among the most important things you can do for them.
That’s according to a huge 2016 cross-sectional national study highlighted this week by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), headed by its founder, Dr. Patrick Fagan.
“The study of 8,500 adolescents found that 60% of adolescents shared family meals five times a week or more,” Fagan said in an email to HillFaith.
“The greater the frequency of family meals, the fewer were symptoms of depression or emotional difficulties, and the more frequent was emotional well-being. On the particular measure of being shielded from symptoms of depression girls benefited more from frequent family meals than boys did,” Fagan said.
The abstract of the study, which was based on multiple regression analyses of a variety of factors, described the results as indicating “frequent family meals may have a protective effect on the mental health of adolescents, particularly for depressive symptoms in girls.
“Interventions that aim to increase the frequency of family meals are needed to evaluate whether family meals alone can have an emotional benefit for adolescents.”
So, tempting as it always is to stay at the office another hour or two, consider setting at least one or two nights a week to be home in time for that meal around the family table with the most important people in your life.
The full study is available at the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. For more about the keys to happy, healthy families, check out MARRI. See also the Marripedia.
Victor Yang has worked on Capitol Hill for three years, presently as legislative assistant to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and previously as a staff assistant to Rep. Charlies Crist (D-Fla.) and an intern for Rep. Juan Vargas, another California Democrat.
Even if you’ve never met Victor, he may look familiar to you because he appeared on CNBC last week in the cable outlet’s “Millennial Money” series of profiles.
We talk a lot about influencing our culture in the macro, but what about closer to home? What’s the culture like in your office? Is it warm, friendly, selfless, welcoming, and open? Or is it coarse, backstabbing, self-serving, and overly ambitious?
Now, what is your role in that culture? Do you strive to bring it to a higher level or do your actions or inactions contribute to an unhealthy environment? We can look for the answer in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Many congressional staffers are in high-visibility, high-pressure positions that, unfortunately, also come with comparatively low pay, so there is a premium on making every dollar earned go as far as possible.
In my last post, we discussed the importance of community while working on Capitol Hill. The Fall is always a good time to take stock of your community, since it typically comes on the heels of time away from work during the summer and a break in your routine.
Now it’s time to get back into that routine and discover the importance of your community.