As a mother, I tried to bring up my children to be polite and respectful. I also knew that there were also many forces influencing them, but I had help. Back then, beginning in 1997, television shows were rated to help parents determine their appropriateness—TV-Y, Y7, PG, PG14, and MA. I am not certain whether these ratings still exist.
With the exception of the Clinton hearings, I never worried about turning the television off when the president spoke. Unfortunately, that has changed. Now, when our current president speaks and the children are present, I turn off the television because you just never know if what he says when he goes off script will be appropriate for young ears.
Last week, I was sitting at the kitchen table playing Mancala with Lily. Although she is now four-years-old and therefore a “big girl,” I am still careful about what is on the television. So while we were playing, Dad was watching the impeachment trial on his phone at what he thought was a very low volume level so she could not here. He was wrong.
Part way through our game, Lily turned to me and asked, “Grandma, who is Adam Schiff?” I admit I was surprised (but happy to learn that her ears work quite well), so I thought carefully before I answered, “He is Miss Nancy’s friend.” (I have not put my Nancy Pelosi Christmas ornament away. She is hanging on a lamp in my bedroom so Lily sees her often.)
Lily then asked, “Does he know Miss Ruth?:
“Oh yes,” I explained to her. “They are all friends.”
So my advice to other parents and grandparents is this: Be careful what you speak about or what you watch when your wee ones are nearby. You may think what they hear is being ignored because it is boring grown-up talk. But don’t be fooled. They are listening and their ears are find-tuned.