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Showing posts from February, 2020

Polite Conversation

When I was very young, still at home with my parents, Dad expected us to have what he called “polite conversation” at the kitchen table. Everything was a learning opportunity, so he delighted in having a captive audience while we sat for meals. We said grace, kept our elbows off the table, and were expected to “converse” while we ate our cold cereal, our afternoon sandwich, or our casserole at dinner. Topics got more difficult in high school and college. Gone were the days of discussing what we had learned in school that day; we were expected to discuss the news from the front section of the newspaper, something Walter Cronkite had reported on the Evening News, or the many uses of math in one’s life. It may sound like a drag, but it stuck with me, and I likewise expected my three to participate in “polite conversation” during our sit-down meals. Likewise, my grandchildren cringe when I subject them to inquisitions about their everyday life, their progress in math, and the latest