Mother's Corner: Speak as if children are watching
by Yolande Barial / For the Tracy Press
May 03, 2013 | 2109 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Believe it or not, I read that this line was from the iconic Disney movie “Bambi.” Thumper recalled this line after a reprimand from his mother, who heard the young rabbit call the baby Bambi “wobbly” when he was learning how to walk.

Now, if a cartoon character in 1942 knew what to say and not say — albeit a character created from the minds of the Disney crew — what is wrong with us in 2013? The ability to say ugly words is so prominent that our children’s filter for what is good or not good is skewed.

Our children are Swiffers — they pick up whatever they touch. Their ability to filter right from wrong is altered in large part because society has allowed their senses to become saturated with adult nonsense.

They cannot get away from people saying whatever comes into their minds — whether it is via television, cell phones, license plate holders, the Internet or just overhearing people talking in public. Mean-spirited and unkind words and actions are everywhere.

We expect our children to not bully, yet every day they see, hear and read of adults bullying and behaving badly. The words that are spoken are generally condescending and mean.

Many of our political leaders call one another names and tell blatant lies; reality shows tout indiscriminate sex and a whole lot of fighting as the thing to do; and music is full of terrible and hurtful lyrics. There are so many people who talk about the rights they have to say a particular thing, yet will deny someone else their right to say it.

I would not want to be a child today for anything. It is hard. The fact that so many of our children manage to navigate this life that we have created is amazing.

Those who fall through the cracks should not be looked down upon. Each one of us should take a look at ourselves and see what we can do to make a difference in the life of a child.

Perhaps saying something nice to them instead of tearing them down would be a good way to start.

• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mom. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to tpletters@tracypress.com.
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