Like many parents I watched the coverage of the Miley Cyrus debacle.
And, like many, I was forced to ponder what kind of impact it will have on my children.
I don’t let my kids watch MTV’s Video Music Awards, and frankly the last time I saw a music video on MTV was during the late-90’s.
Sure, she had some poor wardrobe choices and dry-humped a giant teddy bear, but let’s face it, on the radar of what’s important in life I don’t see devoting too much intellectual capital to another Disney child star gone wrong. I just tell myself she suffered a traumatic head injury, which is not at all true but is a real time saver if you are looking for an explanation.
What the Miley episode did cause me to realize is that I have wronged my children. How? You might ask. I have musically sheltered them. As a parent I have completely inundated them with my music and mine alone.
My oldest son will swear to you that one of the greatest albums is 10,000 Maniacs’ Unplugged. Why? Because it is all he knows, it is what I taught him. And to my defense it probably is one of the best of the mid-1990s.
For me, that was a glorious time… I was out of high school and embarking on what would be a 10-year college career (no, I am not a doctor). P
Pearl Jam dominated parties, U2 was consistently excellent, Kurt Cobain was still alive, and no one yet knew who Courtney Love was. It was great, but I digress.
Eventually I’m going to have to ease up and let my son discover his own taste in music.
At his age now his musical desires are pretty harmless, stemming mainly from the adults who surround him — in addition to Natalie Merchant, he likes a little John Denver (thanks to his first grade teacher), some Sidewalk Prophets (thanks to his mom’s addiction to K-Love), and a dash of Imagination Movers for good measure (a hold-out from when we actually had cable). Hence, we have my second grader’s playlist.
In fact, it might be time to help him (and eventually his siblings) develop some deeper musical tastes. Perhaps I can start by turning off NPR and actually listening to the radio when riding in the car with him. Thanks to my vehicle listening habits, the poor kid knows that there is a civil war in Syria but has no idea who Katy Perry is.
All of this to explain why the VMA’s aren’t even on my parental radar (at least not beyond my own amusement).
What the VMA’s did affirm to me at this moment of oldest son’s life is that I like being his gatekeeper of popular culture. For a sweet period of time here, I can literally tune out the crass, inappropriate, and just plain pathetic. All too soon he’s going to find those things on his own and not care what I say about them.
So, for now, it’s OK that he thinks the Bare Naked Ladies’ Rock Spectacle still rocks (because it does), and I certainly don’t feel bad that he’s clueless about Hannah Montana’s poor choices.
I’ll happily keep control a little while longer and savor the fact that I don’t have to fight him for control of the radio just yet.
Chris Donnelly is a working dad with four children.
You can read him every Thursday on momaha.com
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