so today . . . at dinner i was telling rollie and diandra about a blog i had read that made me laugh. it was written by a young woman who was raised in a household with very involved parents. very involved. and it made me laugh, because i could see a little bit of myself in her parents . . .
when diandra was growing up, we pretty much had to approve anything she was going to see or do or have. she missed more than one birthday party because of the planned activities. i wouldn't let her have barbies, or even play with them, until she was in the first grade. and even then i thought it was too early, but there were circumstances . . . and clothes shopping was no picnic either, because my ten year old was not going to dress like she was 16!
today at school one of my kindergarteners was talking about the movie 2012. she saw it over the weekend. 2012! it is about the end of the world, and california falls into the ocean! and in case you don't know, we live in california!! i'm too scared to go see it, but there i was, listening to a six year old tell me all about it.
i think sometimes parents are not aware of how much their small children are soaking up from the things they are exposed to. i think they think their children are too young to understand, and so what they see or hear doesn't matter. but it does. i see this most often when i hear my kids absentmindedly singing to themselves--some of they lyrics they sing are shocking!
one day i heard a little boy singing, "i wear sneakers, i wear tshirts . . . " over and over and over again. that was the only line he sang, but he sang it all morning. when it finally sank into my brain, i realized that it sounded like the warped lyrics of a taylor swift song. her lyrics are not obscene or objectionable, but after listening to her music (which i admit i like,) i think her target audience is probably young women--which this little boy obviously was not. so i said to him, "where did you learn that song?" and he replied, "in my dad's car." his dad's car?!?! i know his dad, and this does not seem like it would be his music of choice. but clearly this little boy had heard it often enough to get the melody right, and the lyrics were close enough that i recognized it. so now i picture him and his dad boppin' out to taylor swift songs on the way to school. and i admit it--i laugh. it is a pretty funny picture . . .
diandra says that she is glad we were careful about what was allowed into her developing brain. yeah, she says that NOW. i am pretty sure she didn't always appreciate it when she was growing up. but it warms my heart, as her mom, to hear her tell her teens that they need to be careful what movies they watch or what music they listen to, because all the stuff going into their heads has an effect on who they are and how they think about things. and even though her standards are a bit broader than the ones imposed on her when she was 15, she has been known to get up and walk out of a movie or refuse to watch a dvd if she thought the content was not going to be good.
i like that. it makes me proud that i was a somewhat restrictive parent. kids are sponges, and as the adults in their lives, we need to pay attention to what we are allowing them to soak up . . .
. . . even if it means saying no.