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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Essay

'Just Lower the Noise Level'

September 23, 2000|FRED BERNAL | Fred Bernal lives in Chino Hills

Like so many men of my generation, I recently became a full-time grandfather; my daughter and granddaughter have moved in with us. My granddaughter has brought much joy to me as I again experience the miracle of growth and bonding. Along with the responsibilities I have inherited, I have been reintroduced to the world of toy stores, toddler specialty shops and fast-food restaurants.

One day as I sat watching my granddaughter in the fast-food playground, I suddenly realized that many of society's ills can be directly attributed to a lifestyle that is being shoved down our children's throats.

As I entered into my granddaughter's public world, I was haunted by the noise of today's rock hysteria. In the toddler's clothing store, I was tormented by children running wild around the clothing racks to the beat of a rapper's unintelligible mumbles. In the toy store, I saw children jumping on toys to the beat of heavy metal colliding with rage. In the fast-food place, a child was trying to digest her food as she squirmed and jumped to the sounds of drums, guitars and vocal gibberish.

I blame these noisy peddlers for contributing to the hyperactivity of our children and for introducing them to the "I want to have excitement all the time" mentality. They call this "successful marketing," but at what cost?

This may sound old-fashioned, but when I enter into my toddler granddaughter's world, I expect to hear children's music in these public venues--soothing lullabies, Mother Goose rhymes, simple melodies and calming harmonies. I expected music that a child could understand and that parents could sing to them; music that contributed to the peace of the home, that could be sung without hiring a noise-making band.

You have us captive, you vendors of children's wares, but who said a child cannot have fun in a calm and soothing world? I challenge store managers and TV commercial producers to lower the volume. Help us calm our children. Help us teach them values that build an orderly society.

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