Thursday, April 05, 2007

The mixed blessings of speech

These days, I was walking my sons in the nearby Western park and stopped at a playfield. There were many other children. Looking at them and hearing them speak in sentences, I admit I felt some envy. My elder son, now 3.5, has language delay. I am of course delighted that he finally made up his mind to join the speaking world, but his current speech is appropriate for a child half his age.
A 3-yr-old boy came to me to ask to play with my son's toy tractor. Then he obviously felt like having a little conversation. He pointed at one of the playfield's devices, a construction of stairs for children to climb (I don't know the English word for this).
"They have repaired it," he said. "Some Gypsy had broken three or four of the steps."
"How do you know it has been a Gypsy?" I asked. "It may have been some white, blonde Bulgarian."
The boy answered nothing, but I could read his thoughts - young children are so transparent. He knew I was wrong, because I was saying the opposite of what his mom or dad had said. He knew he couldn't win in an argument with an adult, so he didn't object to me, but he didn't look very happy - he was feeling some guilt for not defending the right opinion.
This made me remember another indoctrinated 3-yr-old - a Muslim girl convinced that "Jews are apes and pigs" (http://www.sandmonkey.org/2005/11/27/3-and-a-half-year-old-girl-jews-are-apes-and-pigs/ and http://freedomforegyptians.blogspot.com/2006/06/hitlerism-on-saudi-islamic-channel.html).
My God, how delayed indeed my son is! Still speaking in single words while his peers fluently express racist statements! Or perhaps he is right? Perhaps it is better to develop critical thinking first, speech second?

1 comment:

shlemazl said...

The word you are looking for is "climbing frame". Not very imaginative, huh?

Don't worry about your son. Once he gets talking you'll be fondly remembering the days when he was "a man of a few words".