Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.
The other day I was walking my son and his friend to Los Tamborcitos, and at their urging we “practiced” on the way. Halfway through singing the alphabet song in Spanish, a sense memory of walking to school and singing suddenly came to me, and I found myself singing “Off to Work We Go” to them, verse for verse, word for word, note for note. Bits of the song I didn’t even know I knew.
And then I stopped myself. I’ve taken the no television pledge (although YouTube videos of Caltrain are our current exception. There is always an exception, just as surely as moms need to take a shower, clean the kitty litter, knead the dough). I’ve promised my boy won’t see the fantasyland castles before he sees the fantastical castles of the Grimms’ land. So what would he make of my singing the uber-Disney song? Am I a hypocrite? Or, without those visual and tactile references, was it just a song, a cute song about work — about the value of labor!
Theoretically, there are three components to cultural transmission: how we tell our kids about the family/society/history stuff that matters. Socialization from parents, peers and community; content, and context. I figure without the socialization or the context — there are no Disney posters here — I am pretty safe, for now, from saccharine happy endings and requests for trips to Florida or Anaheim.
But to be on the safe side, I’m practicing the (non-Disney) songs I remember the most from my childhood, and am checking out activities for the kids that emphasize our modes of cultural transmission (cooking, drawing, singing, hiking) and content (hard work, compassion, curiosity).
Drawing (& Painting)
Starting this weekend, Sirron Norris offers painting sessions for preschoolers at his gallery.
Preschool Painting. January 29, February 12, February 26, March 5 and March 26. 8:30-9:30 a.m. Ages 3-5. $10. Sirron Norris Gallery, 1406 B Valencia Street at 25th.
Starting this Wednesday, catch cultural transmission in action with Zenon Barron’s new Mexican folklorico dance class at Mission Cultural Center. Folklorico is expressly “dance that reflects the traditions, customs, legends, beliefs and lifestyles of people in particular countries or regions.”
Mexican Dance Class. Wednesdays, 4-5 p.m. Ages 6 +. $12. Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. 2868 Mission Street at 25th.
My son is still too young for this opportunity, but SF Food Bank sure makes it easy to help out. Orientation is short; sorting food or handing it out offers immediate payback. On Saturdays, kids as young as 8 are welcome to come help; on Sundays, those as young as 4 can join in.
Volunteer Opportunities or 415.282.1900. San Francisco Food Bank, 900 Pennsylvania Avenue at 23rd.