At times the job of Elementary School Principal can be very entertaining. Last week I had the task of speaking with a few of our youngest learners about why it was inappropriate to refer to others as ‘Sexy Lady’ at school. The students involved listened to what I said, pretended they understood what I was saying, and promised that they wouldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t until later that evening that I made the connection between the words and their source, and figured out why the boys might have had some trouble figuring out why it wasn’t an appropriate thing to be saying.
Often in the evening my son and daughter will ask to look at pictures of themselves on my phone (yes, they are just as vain as their father!). As we were flipping through the pictures we came across a video of my son (also in Kindergarten) and two of his hockey teammates dancing to “Gangnam Style” at a recent Vancouver Giants game. Just to make the point a little clearer to me there was a Birchland student from my son’s team (not one of the ones mentioned above) dancing right behind him. When the four of them held their hands up in the air and screamed “Ehhhhhh…Sexy Lady” I finally figured out where the boys at school learned these words.
This situation has further pointed out the need for us to have a continuous open dialogue with our children. The need for us to really pay attention to what we are exposing them to, and to help them put the information they are being inundated with into some sort of rational perspective. With over 1.3 billion YouTube views, shielding a 5 year old from hearing “Gangnam Style” is a virtual impossibility. Whether walking through the park on Canada Day, sitting at a Giants game, or maybe even coming to school they will hear this song, or something else with content that is hard for a young child to decipher appropriately.
Personally, this understanding will help change the way I conduct conversations with students in this type of situation. I think that I will first need to ask the children where they have heard these words before (hopefully it will be from a song or game and not be what “Daddy always says when he is mad while driving”). After figuring out the source of the information it will be important to spend the time to help them understand why those words might be in a song, but would not be appropriate to be repeating in a public venue. I guess after doing that we can turn up the music and practice our best dance moves!