248 IDEAL HOME LIFE
childish and dependent, but they know where to take hold and when to let go.
How to Conduct It
Talk, to be good, has to be prearranged. Here are some homely hints about how to do it.
Begin right. Stand around the chairs before you sit down and sing a song. Start with a story. Taboo the food, the neighbors, the weather, or personal scolding, as table-topics.
With such a keynote you are less likely to bolt your food. The common meal will be lifted above the level of greediness. Your manners will improve. You will be less ill-tempered around the house, and you will go gladly to the day's work.
You need a talk-leader, to give a good kick-off. The Greeks called this official "symposiarch." Mother is a good one. Let her suggest topics. A card-catalogue of them is not to be despised. Or you and your brothers and sisters can preside in turn. This gives every hobby its hearing and prevents any individual from becoming piratic.
Suggestions as to Table Talk
Things Seen. Curious characters; costumes of foreigners; displays in shop windows; a new invention; the migration of birds, bird songs heard or early birds seen; indications of the change of the season.
Here are some questions that may be asked to bring out observation:
What is the largest star you can see to-night ?
Why are two stars in the Dipper called pointers? . What color are crows' eggs?
What use are crows to farmers?
How does a dog know a stranger?
What are some of the pets kept by sailors in our navy?
Does a bird ever sail with his tail toward the wind ?
How can you tell an oak tree?
Why is salt water not good for plants ?
What makes us sneeze?