Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reading at the dinner table

When I was growing up, my parents insisted that we all have dinner together as family. With all of our lives so hectic (us kids in school and both parents working full-time jobs), dinner was sometimes the only quality time we had on any given day. We turned off the televisions and we didn’t answer the phone if it rang; this was our time. We normally chatted about our day or we might announce some exciting event, although sometimes we didn’t really talk at all (and that was okay). Even though we did have this steadfast rule, I happened to be the only exception. One of my passions has always been reading and most days you could find my face buried inside a book. Dinnertime was no different and my parents allowed me to do so at the table while we ate. I think they knew that if they didn’t make this exception, I might not even make it to the dinner table. And although it was important to have our family time, my parents also knew that reading was too. Every now and then, I was asked to put my book aside if someone had something newsworthy to share; otherwise, I was free to immerse myself in literature. I remember my sister complaining one night that it wasn’t fair that I was allowed to read but she couldn’t watch TV. My parents explained that she was more than welcome to bring a book to the dinner table, but TV was still off-limits. They told her that there was inherent value in reading a book whereas television was hardly enriching. I’m glad my parents let me do this because it encouraged my interest in reading and (I like to believe) writing as well. Although I’m not as much of an avid reader these days (I work full-time and have two kids), I still love to sit down with a good book when I have the time. I also encourage my boys to read as well and will have no problem letting them bring a book to the dinner table when we share our evenings together.

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