Monday, October 20, 2008

The innocence of youth

My darling, Sophie, is such an accomplished reader at six-and-three-quarters! Each weekday she brings home a Wonderful Exciting Book (W.E.B.) from school which she is to read aloud and then Steve or I will read it back to her (along with her constant companions, Max and Carly). It is so amazing to watch and listen to Sophie read, as she sounds out unfamiliar words. (I do not recall being able to read and comprehend stories so well at her age--the times they are a changing!!!)

This evening she was reading and stumbled upon something troublesome to her.

"Hey!" she exclaimed. "This book has a bad word in it! Do I have to read it?"

What on earth could the word be?

"No," I told her. "You don't have to read any word you don't feel is nice. Let's see if we can substitute another word."

I looked at the page and saw the word, "stupid."

Oh, my sweet girl!

"That's not a very nice word is it?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"How about we use 'not a good idea' instead?" I suggested.

"Yes," she smiled. "That's better."

This further reinforces our decision to move to the country. I so vividly recall walking outside our townhome development in our old neighborhood and hearing five-year-olds cursing and having the police come to shake down residents on a semi-regular basis. Isn't that sad? We wanted our children to be children as long as possible without being exposed to everything that is evil and bleak in the world. Sophie was just three and Max not quite a year when we decided to hang it up.

I wanted my kids to know the innocence of youth that I knew growing up, and not be exposed to violence and foul language. So we gave up having three Starbucks in a three-mile radius, a big promotion for me, gourmet grocery stores, restaurants with cuisine from around the world, movie theaters with stadium seating in 14 theaters, a shopping mall with big-name stores such as Old Navy, Gymboree and Lord & Taylor--and on and on. It really doesn't compare to preserving the innocence of youth.

So the choice for us was simple: To stay in that environment...not a good idea.


Regina Bertrand said...

The little ones are so sweet. I agree. Preserving the innocence is so important. It is amazing how society has changed in language and especially things they show on TV. There is nothing that shocks anyone anymore.

Bella started Kindergarten this year and her school teacher was telling me it has really stepped up since we were in school. It is like 1st grade in kindergarten.

Suzi Homemaker said...

Yes--I know! I can't believe the work Sophie is doing! I some times have trouble with it when she has a question (although I have found some mistakes in the work sheets which I have marked and returned to the teachers--the editor in me will never die!).