I always say I’m a girl of the ’80s. I remember things like moon boots, leg warmers, pegging pants, the jerry curl. It was a generation where the more color you wore, the better. Actually, “more” was better in almost everything. More bracelets, more lace, more volume! Thinking back to that time I remember how much I idolized my rock stars. Prince, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and I could go on…they were all larger than life in my book. I wonder how “more” played a role in their lives. I was living my simple life with absolutely no clue what it was like to live in their shoes. But I dreamed of meeting them and was sure I could convince them I was cool enough to be their confidant. I could hang!
Now due to their lifestyles, they are arguably gone earlier than they should have been. (With the exception of one.) The lifestyle at one point I dreamed of being a part of. When you are honest about how you feel about your favorite singer as a teenager it is not unlike being in puppy love times 10. Because you don’t jump up and down, cry, and lose your ever-loving mind over your first love. Oh, right you could hang! Easier to keep a kernel from popping in a popcorn popper.
I was driving my kids to school while I was listing to one of these epic songs. One after the other that is. Suddenly it hit me that my 12-year-old and twin 10-year-olds were getting into that phase of idol worship. When they start to compare themselves with their what are now commonly called “you-tubers” as well as singers. They are beginning to create these personas that are like a fact-based drama. It is important for me to remind you that at 10 and 12 our children are still very active in looking to their parents for affirmation. So, when my 10-year-old casually asked me to watch something funny from his favorite you-tuber the next time, you better bet I was right by his side. I wasn’t there to judge what he thought was funny. I was there as a spectator for what was going on around the game. Asking questions. I wonder what he does when he isn’t playing games. Do you think he likes to play ice hockey? (my son’s favorite sport.) I just wanted to humanize this kid who played a game on you-tube. He isn’t so different.
When I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I will admit it. So here is my pride and I’m throwing it out the window as I admit that I have ignored my kids on countless occasions when they have told me about their adventures on you-tube. It bores me to tears. I limit their time not just because I don’t think it’s a good use of their time, but then it limits the amount of time that I have to smile and pretend I’m listening. Those days are over for good! As my children are building their self-worth and identity, I want them to know that the people they look up to for their success are just people. They have their challenges and faults. Enjoy them for what they offer you in the way of entertainment, but do not use them as a guide for values and self-worth.