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Is it still bad manners to read at the table?


My daughter is at that age when she reads constantly. Her books are scattered around the house and she will peruse them anywhere, from halfway up the stairs to sitting on the toilet. And we would not dream of stopping her. It’s what we’ve been encouraging her to do since she first learnt her letters.

But a new dilemma has reared its head. The books now come with us when we go out. If the conversation veers into boring grown up territory, at a restaurant or at somebody’s house, the paperback pops up and the nose gets promptly buried within its pages. So, is this okay? I distinctly recall being told, in no uncertain terms, when I was a child, that reading at the table was bad manners. But these were the days before smartphones and ipads. Now, a book seems like the least offensive article that your offspring could suddenly produce during a social gathering.

So we let her, adopting the rationale that she’s sitting there with us, not in another room in front of a technical device of some description. Does this really mean that it is now accepted practice to read at a table in a restaurant?

If children are handed out free crayons and a sheet of colouring in along with the menus, then I’m saying yes. Gone are the days when we remained silent and bored while the adults happily conversed.

Or is this simply a case of self justification in the face of patently having failed where my parents succeeded?

I sense it is more than that. The art of reading a paper bound novel really isn’t going to last forever. I feel strangely certain of that. So, if my daughter or son wishes to read a book then I’m sure as heck not going to stop them. Wherever they might choose to do it.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on The RetroReview.


    March 6, 2017

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