In our family, our morning routine on a work day includes flipping on CP24 to sip our first cup of java while we contemplate saving the world in the classroom. I wanted to share a little conversation we had with our daughter as she lay splayed on the sofa with morning hair and pyjamas.
An ad came on for Tango Condominiums. The tv spot was one of those where you can’t tell what is being advertised until the last second. A gorgeous woman and handsome man are seen dancing the tango in a romantic and elegant way. At the end comes the alluring tag-line spoken by a sensual voice: Tango Condominiums.
As Janet and I sat somewhat zombified in our morning state, our daughter suddenly piped in without provocation.
“I know why they call those apartments Tango, daddy.”
“Why, honey,” I responded, with the tone of a cynical parent who no longer finds it novel to converse with a 7-year-old.
“It’s cuz they don’t want just anyone living there.”
Janet and I suddenly stared at one another in that way that couples do when the child they created no longer seems like their own. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, like, you’re supposed to be fancy if you wanna live there.”
“What do you mean by fancy?”
“You know, fancy.”
“Are mummy and daddy fancy?”
She responded without hesitation: “No. That apartment’s not supposed to be for you. That commercial wants you to think that only special, fancy people deserve to live there.”
There are two things I reflected on after this little morning snippet:
1. Media literacy is not a strand of literacy. It is Reading and Writing – period.
2. When parents of my students ask me, “Mr. Lee, what can I do to help my son?” I wish most of them wouldn’t look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them to a) talk to their kids frequently, and b) talk about what they are thinking and how it helps them make sense of the world around them.