Children's potential

Dear Editor:There's no way around it: I really feel as if Alaina Niemann's Letter to the Editor were the ramblings of a crazy person. ("Who's Teaching Who?", 4/2/10) Not only was it ridiculous, but wildly offensive and the fact that she has a small child who is no doubt being subjected to her unfounded claims is more than a bit concerning to me. You can't liken something to "Nazi tactics" without backing up the claim. What on earth does children talking to their parents about the benefits of reusable shopping bags have to do with Nazi tactics? Here's a quick history lesson: Nazis exterminated an entire race of people using extreme violence because of their rabid hatred and racism. The city of Downey urging children to have a teachable moment with their parents about the environmental benefits of reusable bags is a) Creating an open dialogue where children are made to feel as if they have something to share and contribute in their household and b.) Teaching children to be environmentally responsible. I feel so incredibly sad for Ms. Niemann if she's really under the impression that children have nothing to teach their parents or other adults. I wonder if she's ever heard of the expression, "Out of the mouths of babes," which is when a child says something that illustrates wisdom and understanding beyond their years. Children these days have the potential to - quite literally - save the world from the damage we've done and I hope that many Gallatin Elementary students are sharing the knowledge they're learning from the pilot program and urging their parents to make these small changes in order to benefit the environment and better the world. Perhaps the reason the city isn't wasting its money on trying to teach adults about the benefits of reusable shopping bags is because adults are full of excuses as to why it's "inconvenient" and they are set in their bad ways. Children, on the other hand, are open to new ideas and willing to change once they understand that their current behavior is negatively impacting the planet they call home. Obviously, this is not true of adults. By the way, plastic grocery bags are not "reusable." Even if you use them more than once to pick up your dog's excrement or pack your lunch, those bags eventually find their way to landfills where it is believed they take up to 500 years to break down and fully decompose. Cloth bags can be purchased affordably and reused literally thousands of times. Thankfully, cities like San Francisco are leading the way and banning the use of plastic bags entirely because of how detrimental they are to the environment. If that were to happen here, there's no doubt people like Ms. Niemann would liken the ruling to tactics used by Joseph Stalin, but I hope we see it happen in our great city one day. - Tina Vasquez, Downey

Dear Editor: My feelings towards reusable plastic bags aside, I feel sorry for Ms. Niemann if she finds learning from children to be akin to "Nazi tactics." I have learned many things from my children, including to view things with an open mind and to always be polite and respectful. My middle son, who is in the eighth grade, even helps me with math (after all these years my memory has slipped!). If children are to learn environmental consciousness, it needs to start at a young age. It is much harder to get a person already set in their ways (such as myself, I admit) to change. - Darlene Lycan, Downey

Dear Editor: In your Letters to the Editor, you headed a letter about education "Who's Teaching Who?" Apparently nobody. The heading would correctly read, "Who's Teaching Whom?" Without a grammar lesson about subjects and objects try substituting "he" for "who" and "him" for "whom." Example: He's teaching him vis-?†-vis Who's teaching whom. Voila. - Doreen Lorand, Downey

********** Published: April 9, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 51