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1. The narrator makes it clear that
1) children in Los Angeles do not respect adults.
2) calling adults by their last names is too familiar.
3) her children aren’t allowed to call adults by their first names.
2. The narrator teaches her children
1) to be careful with their money.
2) to make their own decisions about spending money.
3) to buy things at the farmer’s market.
3. The narrator learned not to humiliate children from
1) her own experience.
2) her children’s friends’ mothers.
3) her own mother.
4. The narrator wanted to play a part of Susan because
1) Susan was an animated character.
2) she wanted to show that women can be independent.
3) she wanted to play a part of a hero.
5. The narrator takes her children to church because she wants them
1) to be part of a community.
2) to share their personal experience.
3) to struggle for their future.
6. The narrator says that her mother
1) used to read books to her when she was little.
2) is the only one who supports her.
3) is extremely talkative.
7. According to the narrator,
1) her children spend a lot of time in Nashville.
2) her children enjoy spending time with their neighbours.
3) there are lots of similarities between her and the children.
1 – 3
2 – 2
3 – 2
4 – 2
5 – 1
6 – 3
7 – 3
I’m not a super-strict parent, but I think it’s important to have rules for children. We just want to know when we’ve done something right or wrong. That’s what I’m trying to teach my own children.
I grew up in Nashville, and my parents taught me to respect my elders. We’d say things like ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, sir’ to adults. But kids in Los Angeles don’t do that. I’ve drawn the line at my chib dren calling adults by their first names. I tell them they can call people ‘Miss Shannon’ or ‘Miss Heather’ but that using only the first name is too familiar. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.
Children should learn their values at home. I give each of the kids five dollars when we go to the farmers’ market on the weekends because I want them to get used to managing their own money. They can buy something, save it, or spend part of it and save the rest. My son is just like me: The minute he gets the money, he spends it all on something delicious. But my daughter will go around the market for half an hour weighing the possibilities until she buys one thing.
I don’t believe in humiliating children in front of their peers. I was, when I was told ‘Don’t behave that way!’ or ‘Don’t gossip!’ I’ve learned so much from other moms. When my daughter Ava was little, we were at a birthday party, and her friend did something wrong. The girl’s mother said, ‘Will you excuse us for a second?’ Later I asked, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘I didn’t like what my daughter had done, but I didn’t want to humiliate her in front of Ava.’ I thought that was so thoughtful—to be respectful of a little girl’s feelings.
When my animated character in Monsters vs. Aliens was described to me, I thought, ‘Now, that’s the kind of role I’ve always wanted to play.’ So I played Susan Murphy, a young woman who, on her wedding day, is hit by a meteorite. It doesn’t crush her but instead turns her into a giant. Finally, Susan helps save the planet and finds her inner strength and independence. That’s what I want little girls to see.
In the South, there’s a real sense of community—the feeling that people come into your life for a reason. Because I grew up with that, I take my children to church in Los Angeles. It takes you out of your personal experience and universalizes it. You understand that whatever you’re dealing with, someone in that room has either dealt with the same thing or will in the future. We are all struggling to figure out what life is about. We are all just looking for answers.
When I was little, my mother and grandmother were such big influences on me. My grandma used to read to me at night, all kinds of books. Now I love to read—I’ll buy ten books at a time! My mother is my greatest supporter, and I’m hers. We take care of each other that way. And she’s very chatty. She could talk to a brick wall for two hours. She used to chat with the grocery checker, and I’d say, ‘Mom, she doesn’t want to know how long it took you to get to school today!’ Now my kids do it to me. We’ll go to church and I’ll be talking to someone, and Deacon will be saying, ‘Come on, let’s go home!’
I take my kids back to Nashville two or three times a year. They’re crazy about the trees and the food. A creek runs through our neighborhood, and they love to walk up and down it—just like I used to do with my brother.