A little boy named Diego was introduced into my son's class at school a few weeks after the first day of school. Diego speaks little English, and causes frequent disturbances in class. While he never personally bothered my son, my son still found Diego's outbursts unnerving. I tried to help him understand how Diego might be feeling, but Diego remained a frequent complaint in our home.
While driving in our car, I had some children's music playing in the CD player. A song came on whose lyrics included the line, "If you don't talk as most people do, some people talk and laugh at you, but I won't! I won't! I'll walk with you. I'll talk with you. That's how I'll show my love for you." After the song was over, the following conversation took place:
My Son: "That song gave me an idea."
My Son: "I'm thinking that I could be a better friend to Diego."
My Son: "Because he doesn't talk like me."
He then went on to ask my husband to teach him a few Spanish phrases that might help him talk to Diego. Since that night, my son has become somewhat of a defender for Diego. In the length of this short song, my son had gained a new compassion for Diego that I, alone, had not been able to help him realize.
My son has always been very tuned into conversations and lyrics- even when you think he isn't. This sweet conversation again reminded me of how important it is to be careful of what messages are being sent to our children through the music we play. Music really can shape children's thoughts and attitudes. What are we teaching our children, when we aren't teaching them?