It is much worse not to wish to do well
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
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.