"Blitzkrieg Bop" at the 5th grade talent show. He was relishing in pre-pubescent punk; I thought he'd found his bliss. But early last year, at the beginning of 8th grade, my budding Ramone told me he was ready to quit bass guitar lessons. A bit surprised, I asked him why. He told me that while he liked the camaraderie of being in a band, and really liked going shopping at the St. Vincent DePaul resale shop for gig-worthy attire, he just wasn't that into music.">
My oldest son loved the adulation he received when his elementary school band totally rocked "Blitzkrieg Bop" at the 5th grade talent show. He was relishing in pre-pubescent punk; I thought he'd found his bliss. But early last year, at the beginning of 8th grade, my budding Ramone told me he was ready to quit bass guitar lessons. A bit surprised, I asked him why. He told me that while he liked the camaraderie of being in a band, and really liked going shopping at the St. Vincent DePaul resale shop for gig-worthy attire, he just wasn't that into music.
Not into music? What the heck did that mean? I could understand not being into classical music, and preferring Top 40. Or vice versa. But not being into music at all? And then it dawned on me. As much as I hate to admit it"-I'd prefer to be seen as at least mildly cultured-- I just wasn't that into music either.
As a kid I loved going to see musicals, but I never once came home and listened to the score. Piano lessons lasted all of six months for me, which was probably five months longer than they should have. I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert twice during high school. I wish I could say it was because the "Thunder Road" lyrics had touched my soul. But to be honest, the real reason I went was the secret hope The Boss would pull me on stage just like he did Courtney Cox in the "Dancing in the Dark" video. I'm not sure why I didn't realize this could never happen from the 32nd row.
Even in college, when friends were cultivating an interest in The Smiths and The Jesus & Mary Chain, I was content to "Walk Like an Egyptian" across the sticky floor of a frat party. I wanted to look like Susanna Hoffs"but never particularly wanted to play guitar like her.
I rarely sang lullabies to my kids when they were babies; I've never liked the sound of my singing voice and was afraid neither would they. We never owned much Raffi or Laurie Berkner, or Ralph's World . We left a pre-school music class after just one session because I was unable to keep my 18-month-old from getting up from the "singing circle" to turn off the teacher's CD player.
I wish my son hadn't given up bass. And I recognize I might have been part of the problem. If I had to do it all over again, I'd stick it out in the toddler music class. Or at least wait until the teacher kicked us out instead of quitting. I'd make a point of singing "Hush Little Baby" a few more times.
And I'd definitely take him to more all-family appropriate live music events like the one coming up on Saturday, October 23 at the High Noon Saloon (http://www.high-noon.com/). On that day, Canopy Center Healing and Family Support Services is hosting its first, and hopefully annual fundraiser, "Band Together For Kids" featuring the Wisconsin Disco Superstars, VO5.
This is the Canopy Center's opportunity to raise awareness of and funds for their programming which provides vital counseling to over 4,000 parents and their at-risk children each year in Dane County. Canopy operates the Parent Stressline and the Oasis group treatment program for families who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. With "Band Together" Madison-area families have the chance to shake their collective booties in hopes of ending the cycle of family violence.
Perhaps my son and I do have an excuse to once again to visit our favorite resale shop. But this time we'll check out white polyester ala Saturday Night Fever, funky leisure suits and glittery bell-bottoms instead of punk attire.
Maybe at the event I can convince him to sit in on a cover of Chic's "Good Times" "it has a pretty awesome bass line. And maybe, just maybe, he will pull me up on stage. Because even if we aren't as into music as I'd like us to be, we are into it enough to "disco for a difference" in the lives of kids.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.