We Are Both Right

Dinner and a Movie? Not Exactly.

Does television have a place at the dinner table? Amanda thinks generally no, but there can be exceptions. But what she saw over the weekend really surprised her. Even more so, her reaction to it.

It was one of those sights that at first, made me recoil. We were at a busy restaurant, sitting across from a family of four with two kids under five. As they munched on their food, the parents were talking and the kids were happily watching “Imagination Movers” — on the portable DVD player that the parents had brought in and placed on the table.

“That is so wrong,” my husband T. said ¬†as he caught me glancing over for the thousandth time. “But, so right.”

My knee jerk reaction? Nothing was right about it. Dinnertime is family time. And if dinnertime was in a public place? Even more so.

Then I started to reconsider. I didn’t know the circumstances — they could have been in the car for hours, maybe they needed to hash things out without interruption, maybe their kitchen was being remodeled so they couldn’t eat at home but the kids are normally monsters in public. Unless I got up and asked them — and I didn’t — I’d never know. And honestly, it was none of my business anyway. In fact, I kind of admired them for putting their parenting decisions so “out there” for folks to judge.

They all seemed pretty happy too. The kids were eating quietly and the parents had a date night of sorts, without having to hire a babysitter. I adore my kids, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to get a word in edgewise when they are around.

And when I think about it, tv in restaurants isn’t anything new — in fact, walk into a chain dining establishment and usually the first thing you are faced with are tons of big screens, all tuned to something different. Maybe these parents were just trying to control what their children watched.

What do you think? Would you ever bring a DVD player into a restaurant?


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