Since we have had a four year old with us all summer, I have had the television on a channel she loves called Sprout during rest time after lunch. (We no longer call it nap time… melt down will ensue.) They have a theme going this summer about kindness.
Basically a good idea to teach about kindness. But they have the jingle they keep using that drives me nuts. “Kindness is a muscle.” Now, anyone who has raised young children know that between the ages of two to about six, everything they hear is taken literally. Sprout is designed for that age group. It didn’t take long for Addie to ask me which muscle on her body was her kindness muscle. (Picture me banging my head on the keyboard.)
So, I had to sit down with her and explain that there isn’t a muscle that makes you kind. Kindness is an act or a behavior that is brought on by compassion, love, and the way you are taught to treat others. It is something that is in your brain and emotions. Some people say from the heart, but that is even more confusing, so we left that for later. She got the concept, after several attempts to explain the kindness muscle.
Then the oddest thing happened, she decided that Sprout was lying to her, and that really ticked her off because she knows that lying is a VERY bad thing. It is unkind, and mean. (Okay, we are really strong about honesty in our house, deal with it.) It was good that she was able to grab the concept of kindness, and it was good that she was able to have an out let for her anger. When she hears that jingle, she gets in front of the television and shouts, “Kindness is NOT a muscles. You nitwit, Kindness is an ACTION!” (Nitwit is an acceptable word in our home too.)
Why an organization like Sprout, who is supposed to understand children who see the world literally would promote an out right lie is beyond me. That means parents who give a flip have to undo the confusion and help kids understand that to some people it isn’t a lie because they see an action as using some sort of muscle. Then explaining that you don’t know why they would say something so wrong, but that people are different and see the world differently. Not two to six year old kids, the world is literal, black and white, and straight forward.
Sprout shows are now recorded, after all, what would life be without Topsy and Time, Sarah and Duck, and Noddy? At least we can fast forward past the inane commercials and PSA nonsense. Back in the dark ages of television, we had Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans to explain our complicated world (rabbit is still a carrot stealing rascal). Life was so much easier then. No complex issues past learning to share and being good to others. I am so glad our little Addie Rose would rather read a book, paint a picture, or just play tea party, than sit in front of the television.
We only have her for one more week before we go back to seeing her every other weekend. I think we will just play all week long, to heck with television and nap… ahem… REST time!