Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Talk Soup

Give voice to , speak ,vocalize , utterances , proclaim , articulate, epiphany, enunciate, pronounce, emit, murmur, croon, parlance, oration, recitation ,say ,yell , address, lecture, harangue, sermon, tirade, salutatory, soliloquy, mouthpiece, gift of gab,state your position, on the tip of your tongue, from the lips...............................
My house is a daily smorgasbord of all of this.
We are not a silent, contemplative, keep it to yourself, silence is golden family.
I grew up in a house where my parents encouraged lively discussion and no topic or thought was off limits.
My husband came of age under similar tutelage.
Even though we have been together for 28 years, we have yet run out of things to discuss.
Road trips rarely lapse into silence
Years of Speech therapy have transformed my once silent son into a virtual motor mouth.
My daughter is the gold medal winner by far of the Talk Olympics around here.
We consider the desire, willingness and practice of communication and verbalization to be a virtue and coveted assets in our family.
Apparently the school doesn't quite share our enthusiasm for this.
My smart, precious , social and vocabulary gifted daughter is having a few talking issues at school.
Did you know that in First grade you get points deducted for saying Hi to a friend or answering a questions asked of you by a classmate?
Neither did I, but apparently the Golden Rule is now Silence and not Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Believe it or not, my former Elementary teachers mentioned on occasion in that tiny space allotted for comments on old school report cards that
"Kim is an excellent student, always gets her work done and a joy to teach, she just needs to talk a little less in class."
No points taken off, no conduct cards pulled. Lots of positive reinforcement of the good stuff with the negative coming by the way of a little footnote.
My parents chalked it up to my nature, my intelligence and good breeding. I cannot recall it every being an issue because that was what my parents encouraged us to do. We got points added at home for being outspoken, opinionated and verbal sharing.
Enter 2007, where 1st grade looks like 3rd grade used to.
Tow the line, walk the walk but don't talk the talk.
The problem is that these are still 6 years old.
I don't expect the quite ones that can go all day with out uttering a word to become class orators , nor can I expect the ones that have mastered the art of communication to easily become mute.
So I struggle daily on what approach to take with my daughter.
Oh, how she tries each day to stuff down her automatic responses of the verbal nature.
We practise ignoring classmates that want her attention and words.
We emphasize that behavior i.e. talking is as important as how great she reads or writes or does math.
But my heart aches when I see her leave each morning for school not as excited about what she will learn as she is anxious about whether she will earn that coveted "Green Smiley"Face for the day that means she kept her lips locked through out the day.
And this bothers me.
It bothers me a lot.
It bothers me to the point that I am now more focused on that

Damn green smiley

than what she learned that day. And I hate that.

We visited my parents this weekend. As per family tradition, my Mom and I never run out of things to talk about. Mind you, we talk everyday on the phone. Saturday night we stayed up until 3:30am talking. Eventually I brought my parental quandary about my daughter's talking at school.
My mother laughed.
I asked her what she did about my talking in school when I was young.
Nothing, she said.
Nothing, I repeated.
She said it was just my nature and if that was the worst I was doing at school then no biggie.
I was always ahead academically and they had encouraged and nurtured us to be very expressive children.
So they did nothing.
Now, they did teach us to be respectful, not to talk when others had the floor and that our teachers were in charge. They also taught us that we were responsible for our own actions and the consequences those said actions may incur.
My step Dad is a school superintendent. He has had almost 40 years of dealing with discipline and teachers and students and parents and every issue imaginable from conduct to curriculum to custody to clothing. He is also on the fence about daily conduct grades, pulling cards or sticks or red light/green light and the emphasis and singling out of young students for such small infractions or age appropriate behavior. His advice was pretty much the same as my Moms.
Help my daughter understand why such a minor thing can become major.
Why one child talking is different from 20 kids chatting it up.
But not to go overboard, not to water down her academic achievements or the thrill of each day at school with the occasional talking offense.
To accept and embrace my daughters passion for communication and expression.
She not only loves to talk, but to read and to write. All of which are related.
After all ,it is a family tradition.
Passed down from generation to generation.
Our family crest is a Book, a pen and a mouth.
My grandfather was an evangelist.
I could tell you family history for days from stories that were passed down by great grandparents ,grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles.
By nature and by nurture.
When you have a child through adoption, you thrill and celebrate those habits and characteristics that your child shares with you.
My sweet girl and I are identical in our outgoing personalities that include much verbalizing of pretty much every thought we have or at the very least writing it down (blog in point).
If we are not talking or writing, or listening to someone else's stories and words on TV then we are reading.
Communiction on every level feeds our souls and minds.
The hunger is constant.
But the verbal entrees or desserts are what we crave.
It is something that is the extra cement in our bond as mother and daughter.
Tht invisible thread between us that is made of breathe and steel and forever connects us.
How can I punish her for that very thing that I adore about her.
The very thing that my Mom and family and friends so often comment that makes us so much alike.
And she and I both love to hear that comparison.
SO thus is my quandary.
To follow my instincts and my heart and do as my mother did and her mother and her mother, let her flourish as she is.
Or do I tow the parental line and teach her to do the same.
I'm partial to her constant chatter,
Music to my ears.


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