Friday, April 25, 2008

You know you are old when...

Today our school had a "dance" for grades 3-5 in the cafeteria for one hour. It was a fundraiser, to help raise money for yearbooks actually. I stood there for an hour (actually I circulated through the crowd)completely mystified that we encourage and tolerate such activities at such a young age. The music was incredibly loud (think concert/club) and it was rap/popular music of today that I am completely oblivious to. I couldn't understand what the words said, but most of the kids knew what it was. By their dance moves, it seemed inappropriate. We had probably 250 kids participating.

I think we (public schools, educators, and leaders in the community) should hold our standards VERY HIGH! We should not encourage 'club like' behavior and activities among children so young. We should only do education or wholesome activities that promote living your life above the standards that our society so quickly lowers with each passing decade.

As a future parent, I do not want my 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader involved in this kind of activity. If we encourage and allow such things so early, what do we expect will happen when they are in Middle School and/or High School? Obviously most of the children already watch BET, MTV, and any other cable network they want to watch without parental supervision. They already know how to act like thugs and the girls already know how to dress older than they really are. What they do not know is that their choices in life will lead them to certain consequences. They do not know that when you behave in such a manor you attract a 'certain group' of friends. They do not understand how to draw any lines to separate reality from fantasy. It's simply not developmentally appropriate to put 250 children (ages 8-11) in a large room and expect them to be able to control their behavior, not get into a fight, and walk back to class for the remainder of the school day.

What is happening to us (society, adults, parents) that we think this is ok? There were many parents in there...they were smiling and saying "the kids are having a blast"...Hello...did you see me trying to break up 3 fights? Did you see the kids bumping and grinding their bodies as if they are college students? Did you see the circles formulate and get so close together that who knows what was happening in the middle? WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! These are our children, they should be treated as children. Unless we are doing the hokey pokey or the Mexican hat dance, there should be no dances in elementary school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe it's because I'm too old, or because I've never been to a dance (unless you count dancing at weddings) or a club in my entire life. (and I don't feel like I'm missing out, btw) Maybe it's because I'm too old fashioned. Maybe it's because I don't' appreciate the art of rap music and "dance". Maybe because I've worked with teenagers and remember how incredibly difficult it is for them to uphold any sort of values and morals. Maybe it's because I have a group of kids in third grade that watch South Park, Family Guy, and BET all day long and have the behaviors to prove it. Maybe it's because a girl and a boy in my (3rd grade) class this year showed their "privates" to each other one day at home and shared this info. at school. Maybe it's because my 8 and 9 year old children are passing love notes in class...not 'do you like me, yes or no' but notes with older phrasing. Perhaps it's because most of my children do not live in a home with parents who love each other and they've never seen appropriate signs of love and affection. Perhaps it's because when I was 8 years old I was still playing with dolls and making mud pies in my backyard.

Or is it really because we have become so incredibly complacent in our society that we allow any and all behaviors no matter how inapprpriate. We've lost all common sense ESPECIALLY when it comes to raising, teaching, and caring for children. Many of them do not respect themselves and they certainly do not respect adults.

Am I taking this too far? Is it me?
(as a disclaimer, let me say that I do not think dancing is wrong nor do I think 'clubbing' is wrong...when you are old enough!)

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