If you live around these parts and if you listen to public radio, then you know that it is the Fall Membership Drive. I’ve gotten used to these drives over the years, and I still tune into the station even though the endless chit chat about donating can get more than a little tiring.
NPR is the standard in my car – the girls listen to music in their dad’s car, but I have little tolerance for commercial radio. Like zero tolerance. The girls used to have zero tolerance for NPR, and F’s favorite refrain in the car is that “all this talking is giving me a headache”, which is interesting because all this whining about the talking is giving me a headache too.
But… there’s a subtle shift going on these days. There’s less complaining from the backseat. Occasionally a question is asked about something they just heard. More than once F has berated me for turning off the car in the middle of a story that I had no idea she was even listening too. The other morning, on the ten block drive to drop off E at school, Morning Edition was playing another installment of their series on being a fifteen year old girl in various places around the world. This particular morning the story was on being in high school in Kabul, and the girls were describing how much they dreaded the walk between their homes and school each day because men and boys would yell at them for pursuing higher education as they walked by. I was listening, but I always sort of assume that I’m the only one. I pulled up at E’s school and she didn’t move. “Are you listening to this?” I asked her. “Yes, could I listen to the rest of the story later?”
F and I continued home, and at the end of the story they asked the listeners to send in their own stories about what was tough about being fifteen. F asked me “Mom, what was hard for you about being fifteen?” She’s not only listening, she’s thinking about these stories enough to want to continue the conversation.
This morning the radio was on low, and even I had tuned it out. Outside of the radio chatter, the car was quiet until F piped up with a question.
“Are we what?” I asked her.
“Are we members of this local radio station?”
Ha! Yes we are, although I need to ask M if he sent in this year’s check. She told me when she’s older she’ll give them three thousand dollars a year. I told her membership isn’t quite that expensive. Five minutes later we were at school, and when I dropped her off in her room she reminded me to ask dad about our financial support of public radio and headed into her classroom for another day.
Hmmm, I’m starting to wonder if this station is worth more than my forty dollar annual membership fee.
What’s your favorite public radio story? What was hard for you about being fifteen? Are you? (a member?)
P.S. I was looking for a photo of F in the car for this post – this one was from this very week last year. She looks so young in that photo! And she still loves those glasses!