Letters: Family Dinners, Remembering Pianist Van Cliburn

Audie Cornish reads emails from listeners about family dinners and the legacy of pianist Van Cliburn.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. And we got your attention this week with several stories, like this one:

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JESSICA LEICHSENRING: Annie, dinner.

CORNISH: For our series about kids and health, we profiled Jessica Leichsenring. She's a Wisconsin mom who revealed the challenges in her house to getting the family together around the dinner table, especially in the face of jobs, afterschool activities and digital distractions.

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LEICHSENRING: My family dinners, while they are surely Norman Rockwell in my head, in real life, it's more like the TV show "The Simpsons."

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CORNISH: Our story concluded with some findings that the benefits of family dinner may not be as strong as previously thought. But Lise Anderson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, writes: She's not giving up. She says this: I am dismayed by the idea that there's nothing we can do that a longer than eight-minute family dinner is somehow impossible in the age of electronics. Turn it off.

We got a different suggestion from Richard Spinner of La Crescenta, California: Forget family dinner, he writes. Lower the fuel intake at night and take some time for a good walk together in the evening instead. Walking and talking is a great way to pass the time.

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CORNISH: And finally, several of you wrote in about our tribute to pianist Van Cliburn. He made his name by winning a piano contest in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. He died yesterday.

Judy Levine of Philadelphia says Cliburn was an inspiration. She writes: His humility and his statement about being a musical servant is especially unique and moving. More of this music and more of this attitude could make a significant improvement to our 21st century culture.

We appreciate your comments, so keep them coming. Please send them to us at npr.org. Just click on Contact Us.

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