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If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, When I started working with children in elementary schools in some nearby counties, we were told to ask the children if they regularly ate meals together at home with their families. I still think that is an invasion of their privacy, but I found out that many children of- ten just fix themselves a sandwich when

they get hungry or eat whatever snacks

they can find for meals. Many said they

never sat at the table, but sat in front of the TV to eat.

Families should know that sitting down to at least one meal a day and discussing daily activities can provide a sense of security for children. They are also more likely to be well-adjusted and have good manners, good communication skills, and better grades in school. When families eat together, children are less likely to be overweight if parents establish healthy food habits. Children even talk more comfortably and learn important household skills when helping to prepare and serve meals.

If parents don’t really talk with their children on a daily basis, they can be very surprised when a child gets into trouble. It can be embarrassing when social workers or officers ask personal

questions about your children and you don’t know the answers. They think, “What kind of parent are you anyway?” I would like to encourage families to realize the importance of turning off TVs and putting aside cell phones and just sitting down and eating together and talking with each other daily. TA

Dear TA,

This is very relevant to today's families. I really appreciate your sharing your experience.

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