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Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Time School - Whatever you like by T.I

Earlier this Monday was the first day of school. To many millions of children in United states, Monday was another begining of a new academic year. It's also time to take a breathe for many mothers and fathers while they entrust the true heroes of our society which are the teachers.

It was the first day of school for our small boy. Not only the first day of school but for the very first time. He just had his birthday last week and now he is officially five years old ready to step in to his brand new kindergarden classroom for the very first time. At 6.50am he is all dressed and stood ready by the front door, his eyes pleading with mom eager to get in to the car to start the day. He had heard of many good things from his older neighborhood friends about school and the fun things they did. Mom finally came out with a bright smile and said, silly boy you need to have breakfast first! and school won't start for another 40 minutes.

Mom made a special healthy breakfast with scramble eggs, juices, fruits, toast, cheerios, homemade yogurt and then to top it off pancakes, chocolate cakes, omellettes, bacon, grits..well you name it, it was on the breakfast table. Mommy probably thought son is going to prison instead of school. Our little boy ate all he could and finally 30 minutes later, we were all ready to make a 15 minute journey to kindergarden.

It's been an Indian summer so far, a hot, hot day already in this late August morning. His heavy book bag filled with snacks and school lunch goodies instead of books slung over his shoulder, our slim little boy, with off-black-hair, trudged along the pitted sidewalk at 7:30 in the morning on his way to School.

He walked slowly, enjoying the heat, enjoying the spongy feel of his running shoes, enjoying the familiar sights along the route. Filled with excitement, filled with anticipation, filled with curiosity. Nervous, too. This was, after all, the first day of school. At the edge of our street, exactly half a mile from our house, he turned the corner and saw the school in front of him. He had seen it many times but this time there were something different in his eyes. He saw multitudes of kids running around and hurrying themselves into the school. Some kids were kissing their parents good-bye, some were hugging one another and some were shedding tears yelling and screaming DON't Leave me here because i really LOVE you! Don't you love me anymore??

The school building was really very nice but boring looking building. Single story, brick, yellowish stone. Nothing stood out except the tall flagpole that would ring like a clock chime when the rope slaps it on windy days. Taking a quick shortcut through the school lawn, dew leaping from the toes of his shoes, grasshoppers jumping out of his path as the crossing guard and hoards of volunteer moms appraoch with a smile saying welcome to the first day of school! and there are the sidewalks so don't cross the lawns. Take the sidewalks and with a smile they flocked away to the warn the next little freshmen first time on campus.

I glanced to the right side of the building and noticed the legions of big yellow school buses and a memory suddenly came back to me—a spring day when I went to school the first time. 30 something years ago, I made the same initial journey to school for the very first time. My mom didn't make the hearty breakfast but did get up early and made sure I was ready for school. I had to get up to put on my uniforms. It was a white shirt along with navy blue shorts. After a quick light breakfast, she would walked me to the school bus stop and waited along with me. At the bus stop I met a little girl who was waiting along with me. She was my first friend at school.

These fond memories still echoes at the back of my mind. I remember the song that was played on radio that very first day as I entered in to the bus. It was a very cheesy chinese love song made popular by a Hong Kong made Kung Fu series and it goes something like..."When you held my hand, I decided to walk along with you After all these years, you are still besides me. Even if there is a day where parting is inevitable, I would still want to be with you. I long for something even longer than forever because love is beside me...." I told you it was cheesy! but we all loved it at the time. Little school yard boys and girls would be humming along this song and couldn't wait to go home after school to catch what would happen next in the series.

As I survey what's the latest in music nowadays and here is a lyric comparison between then and now. This is an excerpt from the number 1 song in today's Billboard top 100 music chart. The artist name is T.I and the song name is "Whatever you like"

"Stacks on deck
Patrone on ice
And we can pop bottles all night
Baby you can have whatever you like (you like)
I said you can have whatever you like (you like)"

I just can't believe these words are being hum in the heads of millions of kids perhaps around the world as they entered school. Wonder about school violence? How would little boys see little girls? In this easily accessible media rich world where Michael Phelps was seen by BILLIONS before he entered a competition as listening to music on Ipods, kids are bound to be exposed to all kinds of music. "Touchdown" another song by T.I takes on critics of rap music, arguing that it has done all sorts of good for folks in the hood but yet the lyrics sensationalize subjects ranging from sexual positions to drug use or violence and a buffet of profanities. These are simply sonic garbage.

As our little kindergartener stepped out of our front door for the very first time and went into territory that we have very minmum control over, I wonder how long will it be before he plugs in his I-Pod or I-Whatever and listens to such garbage, and what I can do as parents to reverse such trend. Any advice? Do share.


rakxzo said...

I really enjoyed reading the story! And I've heard similar stories, its sad and frightening. With the luxury of not having kids yet, I have this to say...

I guess its time for parents to step it up and keep a close eye to what their own kids are being exposed to. Its not the school, or government or anybody else that is going to watch after this, it's not their job. This is parenting, what are kids doing with ipods at kindergarden or at school anyway?

To all parents... Get involved today! or deal with the fact that your kid will be exposed to all this crap before they enter 2nd grade, and it will have more influence than you.

Ohdoctah said...

well the thing that funny is. what about rock music. in the 60 70 and 80's talking about drugs sex and violence. It's what ever music is most popular at the time. but you cant tell me rick bands wernt the first to have women running around in swim suits and being slutty.. cuz they were.. now getty up and write an article about the orginators!

TorontoVet said...

Dear Everyday Dad,

An excellent and most relevant post. I do not have kids but I am equally concerned about this issue.
First of all, for any person, group, or community, in 2008, to condone such utter garbage, to actually GLAMORIZE the music of such "artists," is beyond baffling to me. I'm sure you are aware that the first line of teachers are actually parents, not teachers per se. It is up to our "at home teachers" to be the first line of defense against such negativity. Listen to what your kids are listening to. If you hear the words "f--k" or "ho" or whatever, toss the iPod out the window. Bill Cosby contentiously calls these kids "dirty laundry," since they're essentially "wasted" by the time they are older. Is he wrong? Not in my book. What good is it to wear a rag on your head, wear your jeans around your knees, have the inability to form a coherent sentence in the English language, and not graduate from high school? How does such music better society? How are these kids going to better society? Do we remain quiet lest be branded a racist? Speak up, EVERYONE!

Jason said...

I am no parent, but I do know the importance of not letting cynicism take over. I completely agree with your opinions on some of today's "music" (if it can even be called that). But that's the thing, it is just "some of".

I think the best thing a parent can do is set a good example. Live the life you want your child to live.

James Madsen said...

Great post and I must agree. You are a great dad for being brave with your words within this blog. I don't mean just this post but I think you stand for something decent, good and courageous.

Jose Andres said...

Don't worry it all depends on how smart your kid is. also how well of a relationship you have with them. I grew up listening to all that stuff. and watching r movies too. but I'm glad i did. It made me realize different aspects of the world that i wouldnt see at my home. let children be students of the world and just make sure you have a good relationship with them so they seek your advice on the subject of what they see

Mr. Sameer Trivedi said...

Nice Post Good Day Avdhoot Investment

Anonymous said...

Yeah that's real devil's music... that Elvis Presley is going to destroy our youth.

Please. Grow up and stop being such a control freak. You are SUPPOSED to hate the music that your kids listen to.

If you're complaining about "today's music" then you are no different than any parent or old foogie that railed about the loose morals of the youth. There's a great quote about how the tight pants and long hair and crazy music of today's youth is destroying the moral fabric of society... and it was written in the 1830's.

You kid is going to rebel even harder if you don't loosen up and let him be his own person.

Pants said...


I find this post extremely ignorant. I grew up in a house where we were monitored, but allowed to make our own decisions. When I heard music on my own, I knew it was just that, music. The misconception today is that music HAS to be an influence. Sometimes music is JUST music. Yes music can be a powerful force, but only if you allow it to. I think the real task for parents is to educate their children to be able to make good decisions, informed, intelligent decisions on their own. The idea that just because something is out in the world, that it will affect everyone, i ludicrous. Yes at a young age you must be the guide in helping your children see what will have a positive influence and what will have a negative influence on their life. It is more harmful than good to think that you can raise a child to only know how to handle a situation if you are there, with them, guiding them. The reality is everyone has their rights, and it is mine, or anyone else's right to listen to or make any form of music we want. Your job as a parent is to raise your children to be able to handle the choices that will always come up as they grow older. Rather than shelter them from life, teach them how to deal with it in a positive way. Sheltering them will only hinder them in the long run.

Also, I hate to be nitpicky, but I find it incredibly hard to read this blog. The sentence structure and grammar can be quite horrid at times.

Kumonb said...

You got guts to be writing what you are writing especially in these days and age. Keep going strong dad! We all need it.

Narmadi said...

I really want to say that is cool blog,

Rosalee said...

First, I like your description under "This is my home." It gives your blog personality. Though, I find the black background hard to read.

As for this topic- great post idea. I don't think it's about control, and control isn't possible. So what else can you do?

I agree with:

1) lead by example
2) ensure that your kids know and feel that they can talk to you
3) engage your kids in conversation every day,from the mundane to larger issues. This will give them the tools to think critically and to be leaders themselves.
4) know who they are hanging out with (not when or how long, but who). What do their friends like? "you are who you hang out with"
5) If you don't agree or understand something, ask their opinion. Let them know that their opinions and ideas matter.

I think if you do these things, you will raise a kid that is media savvy, engaged in the world around him/her, and who values/seeks your opinion.

Parents and the education system should work together to provide students with tools that help them become engaged citizens-- it's not just about getting good grades or teaching wrong from right.

That said, give kids rules and guidelines. But, be prepared to answer why you have those rules. Kids are just like adults: we all ask "why?" and "so what?"

I agree, anything seen through a child's eyes can be magnified 10-fold.
But, some kids are lucky enough to have the right sources of guidance in their social circle (friends, family, teachers and other leaders in their lives).

Don't worry too much though, we each learn what we need to in our own time.

Good luck!

Ash said...

We can pop bottles all night
Baby you can have whatever you like