Growing up we always had dinner as a family. It wasn't always easy. Dad worked four 10-hour shifts, an hour away, so his day started around 5:30 am and he often didn't get home until after 6pm. And my younger sister and 2 younger brothers and I had our own activities that threatened to interfere, from sports to jobs to friends and other "kid" stuff.
Even so, dinner was a safe place where we could (and did) talk about anything. If friends came over for dinner they were shocked by our candid conversations. It was not unusual for topics to include the standard fair of school, work, homework, girls (in the case of me and my brothers), boys (for my sister), pus, mucus, barf and other bodily functions, even questions about sex were allowed and even encouraged. Dinner sometimes devolved into a contest at who could be the straw that finally grossed out Mom or Dad.
Life often comes full circle, I have 4 children of my own now (2 boys and 2 girls) and, due to my unfortunate, pending divorce, we now live with Mom and Dad again. The economy has also required one of my brothers, his wife and their 4 kids join us. If you add it up, there are 13 of us living under one roof. Dad still works the same shift, but we still have dinner, together, every night. It can get rowdy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.