The Dinner Table is symbolic of the environment in which each of us live and what we’re fed while at this table.
I have come to realize with absolute certainty that as a human-being driven by internal forces, the visions I have for my life is determined by the mood of my soul. The soul is a powerful force that is defined as a collection of our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. In essence, the soul is a direct reflection of who we are at any given time in our lives. Since the soul is a mix of our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes; then the question we must ask is what influences our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. The simple answer to this difficult question is the “Dinner Table”. The Dinner Table is symbolic of the environment in which each of us live and what we’re fed while at this table. This analogy was inspired by the old-adage “you are what you eat” which we understand from a physical perspective of eating healthy and being healthy. But this is also true from a deeper internal perspective in being fed positivity or negativity, optimism or pessimism, life or death and the impact it has on our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes which shapes the condition of our soul. No matter what we are being fed at the dinner table, we are simultaneously beginning to envision how we fit into the world around us and our contribution based on what we’re eating. These visions will come in all shapes and sizes and in varying frequency. It could be something as brief as a daydream while listening to music, or a well thought out commitment to what you see in your mind’s eye. These visions can be either positive or negative depending on what we’re being fed during any period in our lives. For example, if we feed the soul with faith-filled messages of strength and hope, then the soul will trigger visions in the mind of being strong, persevering and keeping the cup half-full through any challenges life throws at us. If we feed the soul with messages of death, destruction, and financial prosperity devoid of morals then the soul will trigger visions in the mind of winning that fist fight, wild west shootouts, drug-dealer swagger and coming home from prison with the honor of a soldier.
Young people are not immune from the opportunities to conjure up their own visions of how they fit into the world around them while at the dinner table. Their young and immature souls are constantly being fed confusing messages from a wealth of sources fighting for space in their souls like never before. It is often said by adults that young people have it easier today than at any time in our nation’s history. This may be true from the standpoint of opportunities and freedoms experienced in their natural environments, but this is certainly not true from the standpoint of the stress and pressure placed on their internal environments. Our young people today are growing up in a society that feeds them an acceptance to anger, violence and death through music, videos, movies and video games just to name a few. Young people today are being fed distorted definitions of what a real man or woman should be. Young people are growing up in communities where the idea of “it takes a village” is nothing more than an ancient theory that may or may not be real! If we consider the stress on a young person’s development in our society in terms of developing positive thoughts, beliefs and attitudes…..consider how much more intense this stress is for a young person pulled from their family and community into the child welfare system.
Children who enter into the child welfare system are not only subjected to the strains of growing up in a society that has become casual and even negligent in what we place on their dinner tables, but then they are removed from the only institution that is supposed to protect and nurture them….FAMILY! Family has always been the constant that offers a young person a chance to thrive in a confusing society. Family is supposed to be the primary source that feeds a young person nurturing meals of right and wrong, good and bad, unconditional love, righteousness, unselfishness, and an uncompromising spirit of togetherness. So when a child is removed from his or her birth family, there still remains a deeply-rooted need for family. Even with their outward display of hurt in the form of frustration or anger, these young people are still crying out for Family. We must be sensitive to this need for family and be willing to serve in the capacity of family even though we’re not connected to them as birth family. We must re-visit the true definition of family from a deeper eternal perspective in guiding a young person so that they can envision the goodness within that leads to their individual greatness and an on-time arrival at their place of destiny!