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Chance to Create Great Behavior

It is much worse not to wish to do well than not to know how.  —Maya Gavric

If we had practice of giving character credits at home and in schools, a great number of ordinary people would have a chance to correct their behavior early and saved from embarrassment in later years.

There is no educational opportunity in the home more important than the talk at table. Family meals and warm family atmosphere is the best place in the world to implant in children the principles of good behavior, quality conversation and interesting table-talk. Children who have grown up in homes in which the family meals and relaxed family talk ran on large lines and touched all the great interests of life will agree that nothing gave them greater pleasure or more genuine education.

Family differences and unpleasantnesses should be left behind when the family goes to the table. Parents should insist, as far as possible, that all family members (including children) discuss at the dining-table only the pleasant and interesting happenings of the day.

People who think it is not worth while taking trouble to talk in their family circle, or who watch TV or read the newspaper at meals, are making a mistake which has far-reaching consequences. It is nearly as bad as those families or schools, where silence is imposed at meals.

Whatever people may think of the value of this theory, there is no doubt whatever that practice is necessary for conversation; and it is at home among those who are intimate, and free in expressing their thoughts, that this practice must be sought. This is a well known fact, and therefore, it is the easiest way for young people to go out into the world properly prepared with the universal introduction to society—agreeable behavior, speech and manner.

If children are in the right atmosphere they will not be intrusive or impertinent. Make place for their interests, their questions, the problems of their experience; for there are young as well as old perplexities.

Encourage children to talk, and meet them more than half-way by the utmost kindness, welcoming the subjects that interest and puzzle them. Give them serious attention; do not ridicule their confusion of statement nor minimize their troubles. Do not limit the talk at table to the topics of childhood, but make it apprehensible to children. Some people make the mistake of 'talking down' to their children; of turning the conversation at table into a kind of elaborate 'baby-talk'; not realizing that they are robbing their children of hearing older people talk about the world in which they live.

Children are always looking ahead, peering curiously into the mysterious world surrounding them, hearing strange voices from it, getting wonderful glimpses into it. It is not, therefore, the child of certan age who sits at the table and listens; it is a human spirit, eager, curious, wondering, surrounded by mysteries, silently taking in what it does not understand to-day, but which will take possession of it next year and become a torch to light it on its way. It is through association with older people that these fructifying ideas come to the child; it is through such talk that child finds the world and learn more.

The family atmosphere and talk doesn't have to be directed or shaped for children; but it ought never to forget children's presence; so make a place for every child.

RELATED LINKS
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