*Note – this submission was submitted by the sexually smarter and CFLE facebook page admin. Why? After talking to Robin about her post “Young Sexpots” – I was reminded of a similar instance my mom faced and wanted to share – plus after doing the editing, posting, linking and typing things like “coordination yimmlefish” to get their blog posts on FB – I wanted a piece of the action. This is my opinion and not a teachable moment but a related moment to Robin’s piece. So here goes, don’t judge too hard, maybe I’ll come back!
My mom is a retired kindergarten teacher. She’s a great kindergarten teacher. She relates well too young people, she has a closet full of Winnie the Pooh jumpers and ABC sweaters, and she knows how to draw and spell xylophone so she can teach the alphabet. (Let me also add, to paint you a picture, that when my mom once received an obscene phone call, she had no idea whether the call was actually obscene bceause she’d never heard of what the caller described & had to call my dad to confirm the call was actually obscene – it was).
But even though she loved teachin’, mandates from the state to “teach to the test” became more overbearing, and she kept saying “I’m too old for this!”. Additionally, parents demands were more outlandish and again the Murtaugh reply “I’m too old for this!” led her to retire 3 years ago.
But, she missed teaching and a year later and returned to help out in the school. One thing she did was help out with the talent show. She loved helping the kids sing, do “I’m a little tea-pot” and dance to various Disney-related songs. She agreed to do the talent show again the next year and it was going well until she called me to ask, “Karin, have you heard of this song ‘Soldier Boy’?”.
Me: “Sure – it’s actually Soulja Boy – I just learned that.”
Mom: “What’s it about?”
Me: “I have no idea, it took me a week to know it wasn’t soldier boy but soulja boy, but I use it teaching at the gym, it’s got a great beat.”
Mom: “Is it appropriate for the elementary school talent show?”
Me: “I’m gonna go with no. What did Dad say?”
Mom: “‘Oh boy’ and he’d only heard of ‘Soldier Boy’ by the Shirelles”
Mom: “I’m too old for this!”
She informed the parents delicately that this probably was not the best song choice for school – better for home – and could they pick a new song. The parents came back and told her they’d found a “clean edit” and demanded the girls be allowed to dance to the song.
This led to call #2.
Mom: “They said they found a clean version”
Me: “Mom, the only thing I can make out that he says is ‘crank that – soulja boy’ and something about superman- and I assume he’s not cranking anything good. Call Rob (my 16-year-old cousin).”
Mom: “I am too old for this!”
So the next day my mom had to pick up my 16-year old cousin at school from track practice and when he got in the car she told him she needed a favor. She explained about the talent show, the soulja boy song, the dancing, and finally said, “So, the clean version – that one is okay?” Rob looked at her and said, “No, Aunt Jane, a clean version is not good. The whole song is about sex and sex acts, there’s no way to ‘clean’ it up for elementary school.” My mom turned bright red and mumbled thanks. Rob later told the story to his sister who gleefully called me to relay the story of the interaction – and I called my mom to, well, to laugh mostly.
The parents finally consented to nix the song and the night went off without hitch. But afterwards my mom asked me, “Why didn’t they just know better?”
I don’t know. Stage parent syndrome – the music was good and they looked good – so nevermind the lyrics, ignorance is bliss or just a failure to delineate what’s age appropriate and did these kids understand what they were mimicking? Then again, my mom didn’t let me watch MTV until I was 16 and even then it was a battle.
Thanks Robin for letting me guest!
This is similar to the recent brouhaha about 7 year-olds dancing to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce. Their parents didn’t see anything wrong with little girls in thigh-high stockings and fake lingerie bumping and grinding. They were talented dancers, but why did teachers and parents think it was OK to instruct the girls to pout and smack their lips while grinding? Enough already.
Glad your mom had people to help her out. I value similar input from my 23- and 18-year olds when I’m working on some of my undergraduate sex ed lesson plans.
Great post, Karin.
A lot of musical lyrics slips right past our consciousness. I remember walking through a supermarket where most patrons (including me, for a while) seemed oblivious to the music that was playing through the sound system, an ’80’s blaring “Point of No Return,” a song clearly about orgasm. (“You’re taking me…to the point of no return. Ah ah ah!”)
There’s a lesson in “Unequal Parnters” called “Behind the Music,” which helps students tune into, and critically examine the lyrics of their favorite songs.