Reading Ellin Curley’s post brings back similar childhood memories of the family dinner table with one exception. The dinner hour was a sacred time when all of us gathered to pass the bowls of mashed potatoes and beans and break the bread of the world’s daily life. We were schooled in the best family practice: unselfishly sharing food with each other, never taking more than our fair share, unconditional regard and high expectation, respectful listening and thoughtful speaking, and the exercise of responsible citizenship in public life. It was a gift that keeps on giving.
There was one big difference. My mother never talked about sex at the Passover meal!
I was raised by well-educated, well-read, New York City intellectuals. My mother was a psychologist and my father was a psychoanalyst. In addition to seeing patients, my father wrote books and articles in the inter-disciplinary fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
From the time I was old enough to sit at the dining room table, I remember lively intellectual discussions. Like most families, we’d talk about our day and share personal news. But we always eventually got around to current events or what my father was currently writing about.
My parents talked about the social trends of the day with my father’s unique inter-disciplinary approach and talked about the day’s news through a historical perspective. We’d talk about everything from science and history to the current trends in the arts, movies, and TV. Our conversations took on a life…
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