Lessons from Family Guy

It’s been said that children are always learning and learning all the time.  The real question is, “What exactly is it they are learning?”.  Further, the concerned parent might go so far as to ask where are they learning it and from whom? I’m warning you.  Don’t explore this too deeply.  The knowledge you discover might  alarm you if it doesn’t send you to your grave early.

Today, I was attempting to convey the meaning of the word synagogue to a group of fourth graders.  The word for some of them who are still learning English is a bit of a mouthful and I wanted to help attach some meaning to it for them since, it was in our reading selection for the week.  Don’t get all alarmed that I wasn’t respecting the proper division between church and state.  We were reading an Encyclopedia Brown excerpt.

After explaining the meaning of the word synagogue, one of my students blurted out in frustration, “Awwww!  I should have known that!  I learned that off Family Guy!”

Okay, maybe my definition was off…I’ve got to go back and check Websters.

Sigh.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

Even in homes where television, radio and computer access are strictly controlled and monitored, children learn things that their parents are less than happy about.  Even though a parent might be diligent in monitoring the influences that children are exposed to, it is difficult to monitor the influences their friends are exposed to.

In spite of the very large influence that school, friends and media have on how children are influenced and what they learn, the home (generally) and parents (in particular) are the most influential factor in a child’s learning and development.

It is also often the case that what we intend to teach is not exactly what was learned.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

What are you teaching?

Is this what they are learning?

How can one be sure?

I ask the questions simply because, if we are to be honest, our children learn far more from who we are than what we tell them.  Are they learning what we want them to learn? Better yet, are they learning what I want them to learn?

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