Thinking about an upcoming Christmas party made me take a step back to think about how I want to approach parenting.
It’s a group party, and it was decided we’d have it at a fun place for kids, rather than a place that requires the adults to supervise their children to make sure they behave. I think this if fine if everyone going to the party has kids, but this is not the case. And as a guy who recently became a parent, I’m still hyper aware of imposing my kid on others who may find other people’s kids a bit of nuisance.
For some reason, I don’t think I’ll let this belief go.
When I grew up, I was dragged around to parties in my pajamas, so my parents could hang out with their friends. There was nothing wrong with this – in fact one of my coolest memories was “staying up late” on one of these excursions and watching the 1930’s version of King Kong. Nowadays, I often find parents I know scrambling at 7 p.m. to get home so they don’t disrupt their kid’s precious “schedule.”
Other parents I’ve met know a bunch of crappy kid’s songs. They also know everything about the weird characters their kids watch on TV.
Sure Baby G is going to watch and listen to these things – I noticed a few new DVDs on the book shelf the other day – but I don’t really want to know what they are, nor do I want to be able talk to other people about the latest fad in bad children’s television programming or music. The little guy will probably even try and impose this crappy stuff on me and I’ll succumb at times, but I will never surrender myself to it.
When I grew up, I never owned any kid’s music. The first album I bought was Jim Croce – the second was Asia, but who said kids have any taste? Not listening to crappy kid’s music wasn’t really an issue in my mind. My parents never really went out of their way to buy the stuff for me, and I don’t think I missed out on anything. Besides other kids still talked to me when I went to school.
My old man used to listen to a lot of Motown before my parents split up, and I remember sitting by my door listening to Gladys Knight and the Pips (Soulwalking is a pretty cool site by the way) before I fell asleep a lot of nights – “Midnight Train to Georgia” is still one of my favourite songs. I also used to love pulling out my Dad’s Marty Robbins greatest hits album and to listen to “Big Iron” over and over again. Point being: my Dad’s music was fine by me because I didn’t know any better.
I plan to do my best to ensure this continues. I’m also going to make sure he can visit people’s houses without throwing a fit at 7 p.m., and I’ll expect him to behave at the few formal parties we will take him too.
To some this may sound impossible, and maybe even cruel, but really it’s not different than many of my best friends grew up and most of us are doing just fine.