Today, one of my 4th graders made a comment that I will not soon forget. We were enjoying Rita’s Italian Ice after a field day and we were having a rare moment of enjoyable conversation unrelated to school. I didn’t have to put on a circus act in the hopes of engaging my students in the lesson or worry about the curriculum. I was simply able to enjoy their company in a way that only another teacher can relate to. All of a sudden that perfect moment went awry with a disturbing remark.
It started off innocently enough, with Bobby announcing to the class, “This Italian Ice is really good, especially because it’s hot and we’ve been outside all day.” He then approached my desk and added, “Mrs. Westmore, you know what would make it even better?” And without even waiting for a reply, he said, “Some vodka.” While my initial thought was, “Bobby, how right you are,” I was so taken aback that my response was, “Well I don’t know about that and you will not be able to confirm it for me for many, many, many years.” (When in doubt, act naïve).
4th grade! This child is 10-years-old! While it does not surprise me that this particular child was the one that made the comment (he has two significantly older siblings and as a result knows too much for his own good), it is disheartening for me to acknowledge that a child today lives in a very different world than I did when I was his age.
Moral of the story: Parents, please let your kids be kids. Allow them to enjoy the innocence of their youth without prematurely exposing them to what they will undoubtedly encounter in the future.