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This Months Feature Story

Teaching kids about spending, saving and more

By Charles McChesney

To discover the value of a dollar—or several—young people need opportunities to learn about saving, spending, borrowing, and how to balance their needs and wants.


Enchanted Beaver Lake

Credit: Michael Davis Photo (2007)

Enchanted Beaver Lake features more than 500 jack-o-lanterns and luminaria that light the way along two magical trails at the Beaver Lake Nature Center, Route 370, Baldwinsville. There’s also face painting, fortune telling and treats. The annual event runs from Thursday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Advance reservations, including parking, are required. Admission is $3 per person; it’s free for kids under 3. Parking costs $5. Call (315) 638-2519 for reservations and information.

For more events in October, take a look at the calendar.






© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York

Oh, The Lyrics They’ll Hear!

I was sitting at my desk, reasonably patiently, downloading songs from iTunes for my daughter. As she sampled the songs, I couldn’t help wondering what the heck she was listening to these days and why it was even allowed on the radio. Things have changed so much since I was a kid, it seems. After one particular song, I could hold my tongue no longer.

“Do you know what he means?” I half shouted. “Do you know what an ‘eenie, meenie, miney mo’ lover is? Do you even know what a lover is? Because you’d better not! And what the heck is a ‘shawty’ anyway?”

She looked at me curiously, not unlike, in retrospect, how I looked at my mother many, many years ago. As though I were a freak from another planet.

Ah, my helicopter-mother half thought indignantly, but this is different! Listen to some of these lyrics today! Katy Perry singing “Let’s go all the way tonight” and Keisha singing “Take It Off”! Then there are titles like “I Just Had Sex” and “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” Or “S&M” and “Stay the Night.” And I know I can always count on Britney Spears, this time for “Hold It Against Me.”

Yes, replied my Zen-mother half, some of these songs have racy lyrics and downright sexual overtones. But the truth is what I see her doing is dancing to them, not pondering their meaning. Not yet, at least. And when she’s ready to ponder their meaning, then she’ll be old enough to ponder their meaning. If that makes any sense.

Well, still, said copter-mom, it’s just not right. It’s like the whole world’s gone crazy, what with no one thinking there’s anything wrong with this music! We are exposing our children to songs about sex, for Pete’s sake! The girl is dancing to them and singing lyrics she doesn’t even understand! I find myself wincing just like my mother did when one of these songs comes on the radio. Which is disturbing on many levels.

This is when Zen-mom stepped up. Let’s see, she thought. Where will it lead? Where did “Afternoon Delight” lead? Or “Paradise by the Dashboard Light?” How about “Kiss You All Over,” “Love to Love You Baby,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing”? Not for nothin’, but that Marvin Gaye really had a one-track mind.

Then there was “Having My Baby” and “Feel Like Making Love” and “Like a Virgin” and “Centerfold” and “I Want Your Sex.” We had “Do You Want To Make Love” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Tonight’s The Night,” and believe it or not, there were even more graphic titles out there.

My daughter’s grandparents had some of their own, too. Jerry Lee Lewis, anyone? “Sweet Sixteen”? Elvis had “Baby Let’s Play House,” Muddy Waters had “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and who can forget Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover”? There was “Under the Boardwalk,” “Hanky Panky”—a personal favorite when I was, oh, 8 or so—and “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” And these were 50 years ago!

Don’t even get me started on the Nineties, with “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “I Wanna Sex You Up” and “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Bitch” and “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover”—sex and language in one fell swoop!

Well, yes, thought copter-mom, I actually liked some of those. I mean, I wasn’t a mom yet. And that one about the—

Zen-mom jumped in. Just hold on a second, Miss World-Revolves-Around-Me. Did you hear what you just said? The songs from the Nineties didn’t bother you because you related to them, and because you didn’t have kids yet. Well, SOMEBODY had kids in the Nineties, I’m guessing, and they were probably bothered by the lyrics just like you’re bothered now. And I’m guessing, for the most part, the kids are turning out all right. Like they did in the Sixties. And Seventies. And Eighties. And now.

As I remembered my mom standing by the rack of 45s at Kmart some 40 years ago, waiting somewhat patiently for me to choose a new record, I smiled. Maybe things haven’t changed that much after all.

Maggie Lamond Simone is an award-winning writer and mother of two living in Baldwinsville. Reach her at