• A is for Agape

Sing Out Loud and Don’t Ignore People


My daughter sings her own songs.  And she talks to herself.  As she passes me in the hallway I hear her mumbling and think she might be taking to me, “no, mommy, I’m just making up a story.”  She is so comfortable with herself.  I don’t know where she got that.  I know I was not like that at her age.  I admire her so much.

In the park the other day as she swung high in the air, the entire park was treated to one of her special songs.  She sang about walking to the park, how much fun it is to play in the outdoors, how nice to walk outside on a sunny day.  I let her go on for quite a while.  She could have gone on a lot longer.  At some point I realized that being a public park maybe I should let other children take their turn at showmanship and so I told my little star that maybe others would like a turn at singing or maybe just some quiet time.  In her sweet voice she whispered, “If I want to keep singing can I do it quietly.”  I nodded.

Today at the same park, what will they think of us, my daughter proceeded to share her life story and that of her brother with the lady next to her.  The lady, a mother of two herself, barely glanced towards my sweet girl as my darling regaled her with stories of her day and tidbits of facts that she deemed important enough to impart.  Even as she got no response my sweet thing continued with her informative spiel.  As I watched the lady pay no attention to my daughter, I was tempted to walk over and tell my little girl that maybe the lady needed a break from her musings.  I know there have been days I have needed a break from the chatter.

But wait, that’s not fair.  We are the adults here.  We are supposed to be teaching our children social cues and proper etiquette.  If you are done with a conversation, excuse yourself from it, do not ignore the person as this lady was doing to my child.  If you do not care for my daughter’s singing in a public forum, go ask her nicely to lower her voice, she will, and then she will sing softly to herself.  Our children are not socially awkward, we are.  She is not trying to be rude, she is exuberant, it is my fear of being judged that makes me censor her.

You see, our children are lovely and beautiful, yet they need to understand appropriate time and place for things.  It is important to teach them.  Social interaction and behavioral cues are learned but we are not doing a good job of teaching them.  We are, however, doing a good job of inhibiting their joyful spirits, their creativity, their ability to talk to adults comfortably.  There is a time and a place for all these things but our kids don’t know this instinctively, we have to teach them.  So, be it singing in public, talking to themselves, or dancing wildly, our kids should be allowed to express themselves.  Let’s teach them how much fun it can be, maybe we should join in every once  in a while.

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