Joan Dorsey
Guest columnist
Back when I was young and impressionable, our school had a wonderful junior high principal. There was a plaque in his office that read “children learn what they live”.
At the time I thought this meant if you were a farm kid you learned to farm etc.
Well it goes so much farther beyond that.
In my 60 some years listening to music has gone from, turntables to 45’s to cassettes, to the much loved and ill fated 8 tracks. Down the road past boom boxes to Walkman’s and on to even tinier devices from there. Portability and earphone, headphones etc. means we take music with us everywhere we go. It is the sound track to our lives.
Back in the 80’s when I had small children the thought of stuffing something in my ears to drown out the sound of small children was a constant. I didn’t do it though. I enjoyed the company of my kids. Whining, crying, endless questions and all. I was told by a mom who had kids of all ages to talk to your kids and make life a teachable moment.
When we went to the grocery store, I handed them the list and let them guide me to the item. We pointed out colors and smells and we looked and worked on the names of everything. They counted bananas and canned vegetables. Everything can be made into a teachable time, if you want to.
I would be passed on occasion by a Mom, earphones on, music on loud and a small child pretty much blocked out sitting in the cart. Seems like the child was learning how important Mom’s music is rather than how to make your way in the world.
I wonder what we teach these little people by basically tuning them out. Is this why we have the lack of respect of life and the self important attitude in some people today?
I watched a young Mom of three the other day. Headphones on, jogging stroller, dog on leash and two children walking beside her. She approached an intersection with a crosswalk button. Did she show her children how to use the walk light, take her headphones off to hear traffic and be alert? Nope she crossed against the light. She just taught three kids how to possibly get hit in an intersection. Safety first? Not in this case.
In the bigger picture I remember seeing a man in Kansas City. There had been a shooting and he was a bystander. Shaking his head the reporter asked him who was responsible for the violent act. His reply was “we are”. We are the ones who have raised these kids. Remember the plaque, children learn what they live.
Stop right now. No matter what your age, no matter how old your kids are. Show them how to be a good citizen of this world. Give them your ear at all times. Teach them to be compassionate, and smart and kind. Take little ones by the hand and teach them every day. Make a change. Pull the earplugs and listen to the world around you.