Melody hears the pitch


A few weeks ago, I saw this sign on an office door outside the pre-school classroom where I volunteer:

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”
Peggy O’Mara

I’d started a post about how important this insight is, then set it aside because it was too argumentative. I’d aimed it at those who believe there’s a “self-esteem movement” in schools that, instead of upholding high academic standards, is filling tiny heads with inflated notions of self-worth and unleashing a generation of self-loving losers.

But as this Chronicle of Higher Learning article spells out, there’s little evidence the United States is undergoing a narcissism epidemic.

And the quotation on the door is aimed at parents, not education policy-makers. It speaks not just to parents in a homeless shelter but to all of us.

I thought of that abandoned post today when I read about this moment of revelation when a musician mother heard her adult daughter sing to her for the first time. A daughter she’d named Melody.

“When I was four or five years old I remember you told someone that I didn’t have good pitch,” she said, “so, I didn’t sing, but I always wanted to.”

It turns out Melody was highly attuned to the pitch of her mother’s voice.