The NYT detects a trend. Is this really a trend? Who really knows?
We all assume the family dinner is important, don't we? Considering how strongly people seem to believe family dinners are important, why don't we make more of a point of arranging our lives around them?
Articles on this subject always stress how hard it is to arrange the schedules. We always hear about the sports teams and the music lessons. Everybody's busy and active! They just need to settle in one place at one time, and everything will be swell. Maybe that's why everyone likes to say the family dinner is important, but they don't actually make a huge effort to ensure that it happens. That way one's rosy image of the family dinner remains intact. We're all just rushing around with our brimmingly full lives, but if we could manage to sit down together, we'd share all our wonderful stories of what we did all day and love, love, love.
(Here's an old post of mine that collects names of films with family dinner scenes. In film, the family dinner usually goes to hell.)