Age… now that’s a very broad subject to cover! Since I’m not at all sensitive about my advancing age, I will address a few situations that I have observed this past week or so which speak directly to this topic.
We were fortunate to have the Army band brass group, Scrap Metal, play a concert at our school yesterday for our summer music camp students. It was a most enjoyable concert which included music from many genre and various time periods. How shocking it was to these young soldiers to find at the completion of one of the numbers they chose especially for our young audience that most all of the students hadn’t heard of Sesame Street! Talk about aging a musician fast!
As I’ve noted in previous blogs, I find more and more often that there is a great experience gap between my students and me. I was especially aware of this during the week as I fumbled from one internet video inquiry to the next in my music presentations for class studies. As I often mistook a video format for an application, I heard an exasperated eleven year old say, “For goodness sake, just stop trying to interact with a video format! It’s You Tube!”
I have to be honest and admit that the remark set the hair on the back of my neck on edge, and I retaliated with, “I may not have the fast thumbs you have from playing on your cell phones all day long, every day, but I’ll bet I can outpace you in a dozen or so real physical sports, games, etc.” So, I guess I may be sensitive about my age after all!
Now, back to the subject of age observations I made this week. The before mentioned concert brought out an older neighbor who lives on the border of our school campus. He came over to the fence near our pavilion in which the concert was taking place and complained to my husband that it was too loud and it disturbed him. Now in the past, we have performed five concerts a year, each lasting about an hour in length. Each time he has called and threatened to have the police come and stop our programs.
I have tried being nice, tried giving him notice of when a concert will take place so he can be gone if that will help…all to no avail. All I have been able to think of is the fact that of the 365+ days of the year, only five days are what he considers too loud for him to endure. Our whole purpose was to get students interested in musical instruments and the joy of playing music. Isn’t that a worthwhile effort since so many kids these days are into drugs, sex, gangs, and various crimes? No wonder they named the syndrome, “Grumpy old men!”
The last observation occurred when a parent explained that her sixth grader couldn’t ride a bicycle yet. Her reason was that as older parents, they weren’t able to show the child how to do it by example. That caused me to wonder how many other skills we find lacking in children may be due to couples waiting longer to have children. So, I mention it here as a yellow cautionary flag to new parents: check out physical skills children are usually expected to have before entering school. If age makes it hard to teach children these skills, find a young person who might like to help you out! The child will certainly benefit from the effort.
I just remembered another experience worth sharing. One of our preschoolers has really been bothered by his father growing a beard. I tried kidding the child by asking when he was going to start his beard like his dad’s. He said, “It will take a bazillion years to grow and then you will die!” Isn’t it funny how differently children and adults view time?!