During a mental review of my topics-tackled-to-date, it is glaringly obvious to me—and I’m sure to you too, although you may be too polite to mention it—that I’ve forgot to mention fried chicken.

Yes, a giant, heaping bucket of fingering-licking-good fried chicken. Now, this blog is not sponsored by any Big Box fast food chicken providers, so I can’t mention the specific restaurant by name, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about—with a side of mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, and coleslaw…mmm, so delicious.

Everyone loves fried chicken, Don’t ever make it. Ever. Buy it from a place that makes good fried chicken. ~ Nora Ephron

And that’s related to family bonds how? I know that’s going to be your next question.

For many years, too many to even track, I’ve been eating a meal with my in-laws on Sundays. Sometimes we share a lunchtime, sometimes it’s a family dinner, but a weekly meal falls high on the scale of family priorities. Only in extreme cases of Weekend Schedule Overloading, do we miss a culinary gathering.

The roster of hungry attendees usually consists of me, my wife, our perpetually famished children, and her parents—occasionally, my brother-in-law will join the group, based on his work schedule and social agenda. Some meals are cooked and served by my mother-in-law, some are purchased directly from a fast food window, while other times we simply go out to a restaurant (the Mexican one that my father-in-law loves). Sometimes, my wife and I host dinner much to the surprise/shock and delight of her parents. If the venue is an at-home lunch, there are always cookies and coffee available—that’s the real reason that I keep on attending (just joking!).

In every case, the objective is clear: to stay connected to each other, in all sense of the word.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them ~ Desmond Tutu

We talk about our week, the daily drama (good or bad) that we’ve experienced, or the academic or athletic activities of the children. My wife and I can always rely on the opinion of a parent, to help us work through financial decisions, or parenting-related issues. In my opinion, this is an invaluable resource for me, as a parent, to learn from more experienced adults who may have already experienced the same issues.

My friends and family are my support system. They tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear and they are there for me in the good and bad times. Without them I have no idea where I would be and I know that their love for me is what’s keeping my head above the water. ~ Kelly Clarkson

Despite my continuous joking, I do adore my family, including my in-laws. Their weekly lunches are an excellent illustration of what the very word of family really means. I have full intentions of keeping the weekly dinner tradition alive, long after both of my in-laws have departed this green Earth, whenever that may occur.

Your family should be a weekly priority, maybe not in a physical presence, but certainly a point of focus in your life. I acknowledge that not all families are on speaking terms, or even mildly amicable, in which case a common baseline of communication should be your first personal goal to tackle.

But if you are blessed with a family system, give it some attention—whether in person, via telephone, video chat, or an old-fashioned penned letter in your own handwriting. Remember: you are God’s gift to your family…wait…maybe I’ve misunderstood that quote from Desmond Tutu. Never mind.