Growing up in Southeast Missouri in the '80s was magical. I recall large family gatherings at Caruthersville Park while the kids played, the adults talked, and anyone passing by was welcome to join us. We patiently waited while the chicken, pork, and hamburgers grilled, and that waiting was very important because it slowed down our lives to the point that we revealed the real people we all were. During this “wait," the kids built relationships that would last a lifetime, and the adults learned every detail of what was going on in the lives of all.

I had almost forgotten about how important this time together was. I attended a community gathering at a wonderful family’s home yesterday and it reminded me of what we’re supposed to do as a community. There were people there from everywhere patiently waiting for the BBQ to finish cooking. Everyone was sharing, talking, and laughing, just like God intended for us to do.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Now, we all rush to get to the next job and hurriedly criticize before we know the facts. Social media portrays perfect lives of everyone, only to be interfered with by folks behind a screen telling others they’re “bad “or “wrong.” If we’d stop, take a breath, and wait for the meat to fully grill, we’d figure out the needs of our neighbor.

It may be time to hit the reset button, slow down, breathe, listen with an open mind, love, and gather around the pit.

This might be God’s way of telling His kids it’s time for an old-fashioned BBQ to figure out that the world is not all bad.

Do you miss the old days of family and neighborhood gatherings?

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, professor, motivational speaker and author. His latest book is “I Can and I Will.” For more information, visit his website at

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