Our Story Begins:
Talk. Read. Sing.
I was one of the first in the “Sesame Street” generation. I was part of that era of kids who saw PBS putting educational information on TV. We watched Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo on Saturday mornings and when we got older the same PBS that gave us educational content also gave us Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Needless to say, we ate it all up with abandon.
Yet for all the doomsaying that occurred over our over-indulgence of television – and there were THREE CHANNELS if the signal was good – there’s an interesting phenomena that I just never thought much about. I just did it.
Related: Our Story Begins: Saving The Past
Yesterday I was folding clothes while the TV blared in the background. Now there are 1300 channels and still nothing to watch. Yet during the 7th inning stretch of the A’s game, I believe, a commercial for First Five California came on the TV. It bore a striking resemblance to “Owl” from Winnie the Pooh. AA Milne’s classic was one of my favorites as a kid and I still have the softest of soft spots for the original drawings in the classic books, no matter how good the Disney version was. So the commercial caught my eye for that reason.
The point? They were pushing parents to do three things.
First Five is asking parents to realize the virtues of talking to your kids, reading to your kids and singing to your kids. In a world where the first school budget cuts are generally to the music program, the arts and then the library, it’s comforting to see. Studies, from schools and scientists the world over, abound with the benefits of all these things.
So here was where I chuckled a little because, without realizing it, I’ve done all three of those things with my kids. In fact, even at the age of 13 I still read to the kids. At Christmas they still ask me to read the original Dickens A Christmas Carol from a 1900 edition I obtained eons ago. Sing?! Have you seen the video I made a couple weeks ago where the whole family got involved?
And talk. There are benefits to that well beyond the little kid years.
When my kids were babies, even, when they couldn’t talk back I had conversations with them. In fact, I may have gotten more words in when they were babies than I do now. I engaged my children early. I took to heart a piece of advice my parents gave me: “kids aren’t stupid, they just don’t have the experience we do.” Sure, they are learning, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to learn.
So I read, sang, and talked to them all the time. Did it make them geniuses? Only time will tell on that one, I suppose. Are they fairly well-adjusted? They lost their mom six years ago and they’re all joyous, happy, and engaged. To me, that means whatever I did when they were little worked.
I talked, read and sang to them. What about you? Do you talk, read, and sing to your kids?