The Village doesn’t get my kids until it becomes way less fishy

Topic of parenting came up.  Surprise, I know.  But, the topic was “Make a Difference.”  Really, what did you think I would write about?

Rosa, whom I adore, says there is greatness in “it take a village.”  Rosa is right.  Except, when the village is corrupt, you have to know when to tell the village to get out of your house.

Now understand I am not going to claim some moral high ground about what I do and don’t allow in my house.  I like the Sopranos.  I watch it – after the kids go to bed.  Understand I am not telling you how to raise your kids.  I am telling you that I have four daughters – if you think that’s a walk in the park, I invite you to the beauty of my chaos.

Times have changed.  Yes they have.  I love hearing people say that things really aren’t that different from when we were growing up. Are you kidding?  Lohan, Spears, and Hilton make it different.  Why? Because they are not the exception, they are the norm.  Madonna was a shocker.  Girls wanted to be like her because it was rebellious. 

Today this is not rebellion – it is not being different or expressing yourself.  Girls understanding their place as sexual beings is the way it is supposed to be.  The media no longer objectifies them – we have come so far that we have taught our children to objectify themselves!  It has become so common that we don’t even notice it when it happens.

Example: Lead actress from High School Musical  decides she’s going to take some bra and panty pictures and send them via email (huh?) to her boyfriend.  They become public (shock!).  Now, I understand she wasn’t naked, is of legal age, and few people outside of the HSM demographic know who she is.  That makes it ok, right? Wrong!  The persona that she portrays is that of a high school girl.  The HSM soundtrack was the number one selling album last year.  Your preteen daughters can dress up like her for Halloween, theme their birthday party, and probably recite the words from the movie.  She was set up in the public as the girl that all other girls should want to be like. 

Example:  Music CD’s marketed for children.  These albums take popular songs and have kids singing them.  This makes them kid friendly right?  Wrong!  Just because kids are singing Girlfriend, Irreplaceable, and Lips of an Angel does not make the lyrics any different. They are still the types of songs I can only listen to when my kids aren’t in the car.

Example: Little Mermaid.  This fish has been banned from my home and my kids know it.  Why?  Let me break down the story for you.  Little fish Ariel is turning 16 – that’s right 16.  On the dawn of her birthday party she flounces off to a place her father has forbidden her to go.  During the course of things, she sees this guy (sees not meets) that is obviously not 16.  She falls madly in love (remember being 16).  But, she’s a mermaid and this guy lives on the land.  No problem, evil squid offers to give her legs if Ariel will give up her beautiful singing voice.  It’s a good trade according to the evil squid – Ariel can use her “body language” and if the guy kisses her within three days, she can have her voice back.  So, little fish runs away from home after giving up all her talents to chase after some older guy she has never even met.  The body language thing works, he kisses her, they get married and everybody is okay with this.  Are you kidding me? 

Could I go on?  You bet.  Little girls who are dying to own pants with “sweetness” written across the bottom.  Clapped for when they nail they latest dance moves that look a whole lot like pole dancing.  Giggled at when they cop some attitude and use very grown up phrases to disrespect their parent’s friends.  Allowed to use terms like “boyfriend” and “dating” before they even hit middle school.  You bet I could go on.

I love the “it takes a village” in theory.  The accountability, the diversity, the help is wonderful.  But the village has traded it’s one idiot for a marketful and many of us have become so complacent and the methods so common, we don’t even notice it.

I don’t know what the answer is for the village.  Maybe you can offer some suggestions.  For the moment, all I can do attempt to keep it and its fish off my doorstep.

Comments

  1. I think that now a days the village has to be the select few of the extended family. Beyond that lies hidden, and not so hidden, dangers. I do remember being young, even though it was a long time ago, and looking back, what we thought of as rebellious was SO tame!! I commend you on the stance you have taken and the way you are raising those precious little girls of yours! Keep it up!!

  2. Wow girl! You have taken this thing by storm! Great job on the website. Hope all is well in Savannah.

    I love the post…I also have 4 girls and it’s a tough world out there. Eating disorders, lack of clothing, sex…it permeates their world at way to young of an age.

    Way to go!

  3. The village concept is ideal. But as you have so eloquently described, we don’t always live in the ideal. I don’t offer any suggestions except to continue to trust your values and perspective. I applaud the way you raise your children, setting a boundary around them to protect them from influences that in their formative years will not be of value to them.

    Nice to meet another parent who takes it seriously! 🙂

  4. Jeanie – I love the way you redefined the village. I think you are absolutely right! (Can’t wait to see you Friday!!)

    Tracey – Thanks and it is nice to have you here! After our real meeting, I was so hoping we could continue virtually. We seem to be in the same place on a lot of things. Your conversation will be much appreciated.

    Pete – Thanks – you would be amazed at how unpopular the Little Mermaid thing is with other moms…but none can disagree. The coolest thing is when my girls tell you that she should have listened to her Daddy.

  5. Wow! Applause for your stance…I never would have pegged the Little Mermaid thing, but I have to agree.
    Food for thought as a newer parent…
    Thanks!
    Greg
    http://www.ChangeStartsToday.com

  6. Greg – thanks! Yeah, the little fish story retold gets that “OMG” look alot.

    I appreciate new parents who choose to think…especially being the momma of girls – I am glad to know that there are parents raising up good boys! Because the truth is, we are all raising the parents of our grandchildren.

  7. Very interesting take on the “Village” theme.

    I applaud you for raising 4 girls the “non village way”.

    Marie

  8. Marie – Thanks! All encouragement is gratefully accepted here and will be returned whenever needed 🙂

  9. I fully agree with you, except for your ‘Little Mermaid’ tirade:
    That is only the Disney version. The original, by Hans Christian Anderson, is big on morality, as are all of his works.
    The story goes that on her fifteenth birthday, she is allowed to go to the surface. She does so, and finds the sixteen-year-old prince, who is caught in a storm. She saves him, and later asks her grandmother why humans die so young, and learns that humans, unlike mermaids, have immortal souls that go up to God. Also, that by marrying the prince, her soul could also go to God. So she then goes to the witch, trades her tongue for legs, and has three days to woo the prince before he marries. But she fails, the prince marries the witch, and the little mermaid dies.
    I’m not sure if that’s much better, but there you go.

    • Lesia…How incredibly interesting. I will freely admit that I have never read that version. But you can bet that I am going to now. I am wildly appreciative of your input and am looking for more of it.

  10. casey oneill says:

    hi its casey oneill cool website thanks

  11. casey oneill says:

    oh about the little mermaid shes not so fishy

  12. You pretty much know how I feel from my recasting of the Beauty and the Beast story. Good for you, April!

Trackbacks

  1. […] opinion that much of what the media attempts to put into our home encourage styrofoam cupness. Give up you talents, use your body, if it feels good do it, sex sells, everybody is doing it, modesty is over rated, […]

  2. […] to admit that there are things that I don’t like I have no problem naming them – The sexualization of today’s children (namely girls) being on top of the list. Ask most people who know me if I can be a snarky […]

  3. […] got their equal time. Not entirely true. This guy had me at the Disney Princess thing. YES!! I am not alone!! This blogging poppa ain’t even afraid to talk about stretch marks. A great read, […]

  4. […] habits to feel like they are being judged – they are not. With very few exceptions (the over sexualization of children being THE BIG ONE) I am really okay with differences. We all have vices. You don’t want mine […]

Leave a Reply