January 21, 2008

Negative Influences

When you take your sweet baby home from the hospital, swaddled in a blanket, their little head flopping to the side, sweet lips pursed in memory of the last feeding and anticipation of the next, there are some things you never expect to hear yourself say.

You donít picture them as 13.

You donít picture what is in store.

And to hear your self yelling the following, is certainly a big change from the cooing sounds a mother makes when snuggling with her newborn:

ďTurn that music down! There is no need for it to be so loud blaring across our backyard. AND FURTHERMORE, music that calls women BITCHES is absolutely unacceptable. Not only will I NOT tolerate it, it WILL NOT be blared across my yard. Have I made myself clear? HAVE I?Ē

My son is listening to rap. Luckily he also listens to some of the alternative rock I listen to and the hard rock of his father. He tends to rap. And sometimes women are denigrated in the music.

I wonder what Mr. King would think of THAT progress?

Ringo and I had a long talk this afternoon about rap music and the entire culture that goes with it. I told him I donít have the time to monitor everything he listens to, but I would hope he will use his good judgment and think about what he is listening to, what it perpetuates, and think of alternatives. And I said, ďIf you find this is the trash you must listen to, and Iím not around, and you have made this choice, I ask you to respect me enough to not listen to it with your brothers around. I donít need them exposed to such negativity and vile lyrics.Ē

I donít know what his choice is going to be. I know that he is 13 in four weeks and there are many decisions heíll have to make with regard to what our multi media culture throws at him. I hope that by explaining why *I* feel something is wrong will be enough to get him to think. Banning something like music is only going to cause him to go behind my back, pushing him to lie to my face. Itís what 13 year olds do.

I am hoping our discussion took. I can guarantee you one thingÖ music that denigrates women, glorifies violence, and says ugly things about our police forceÖ will NOT be played around me.

I wonít allow it.

And I look at too large a portion of the black segment of our society today and I wonder, what would Dr. Martin Luther King think? I think heíd side with Bill Cosby.

Posted by Boudicca at January 21, 2008 09:33 PM | TrackBack

Bou, this post makes me realize how easy I have it. My soon-to-be 13-year-old falls asleep listening to the local radio station that plays John Tesh... but get this, he listens for the "intelligence for your life", not the music.

This is the same kid who asked me to teach him some swear words so he'd know what the words mean when the other kids use them.

No wonder the kids in school make fun of him.

Posted by: Roses at January 21, 2008 10:33 PM

Bou, just so you know...my mom had a similar conversation with me when i was 15 or 16...she ended by simply asking me, "if i ever ask you to stop listening to something, i hope that you would love and respect me enough to do that." Indelible words. She never did, but i would've had she. If i read your family correctly, i think he will remember this conversation for years to come. Now, as a parent, i respect the courage it takes to take those stands and set those standards out there for our children to attain to...giving them the choices and the opportunities to take hold of them. I encourage you to continue to embrace your namesake and forge ahead against the societal pressures put on our kids showing them how good people make the right choices...every day.

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at January 21, 2008 10:43 PM

What I find funny is my husband's newfound awareness that most of his rock idols are leftardian nincompoops. Musically talented, but completely out of touch with reality. Knowing the personalities behind the music takes some of the polish off, I think. Speaking of talent, I was disappointed to learn more about Bobby Fischer's life - especially since my youngest son thought he was a really cool chess player.

Posted by: Peggy U at January 22, 2008 12:01 AM

Roses- Oh my boy has no clue who John Tesh is, although that is just as much my fault. He's always listened to my music (REM and the like) and his Dad (Pink Floydd RULZ!). From the beginning. But this rap stuff came from his buddies. I can't stand it.

Jay- From the beginning of time, parents have hated their children's music. Elvis was horrible to some folks! I just didn't expect this. As rap got worse and worse I would think, "not my problem...", oh, but now it is. But now with iPods and the ease to download music, parents end up having to be even more diligent. It is absolutely exhausting. From what's on TV to what's on the 'net, to what they are listening to. At some point, you have to just hope they get it and respect you for it. We'll see. I won't ban it. There are bigger things I ban... but I hope he listens.

Peggy- Oh I knew about Bobby. Pathetic. From Genius to Insanity to just... wow, evil weird. Truly sad.

Posted by: Bou at January 22, 2008 07:07 AM

I think Dr King would be more inclined to side with Bill Cosby than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. He was about equality- not handouts, whining and threats.

Posted by: Jody at January 22, 2008 08:46 AM

Like most all kids, when it comes to bad music, your son will be fine. *grin* I know my son used to listen to rap when he was in high school - but not where I could hear it. The rule was that I didn't have to listen to music I didn't like in my house. LOL. (the second rule being - I better NOT hear the car stereo in the house when he drives up the road)

But just looking at the CD's he bought... sheesh. However, he had lots of really good music too so I let it go. I tried to pick my battles and that didn't seem to be one that mattered too much at the time. OTOH - I would've had the same conversation with him if he'd played that garbage in my hearing... guess it depends on the situation.

Posted by: Teresa at January 22, 2008 11:14 AM

Sounds like the rules in my household. I'm pretty open with my musical tastes (prefer hard rock, classic rock, and alternative) while my wife sticks with country and occasionally some pop. I'm with you 100% on the rap, it will NOT be played in our house or around me. Other than enforcing the no-rap-in-my-house rule and discussing the really objectionable lyrics (anything pertaining to suicide or mass murder also gets on the discussion list) I won't try to control what my kids listen to, it's a battle all parents are guaranteed to lose. I just try to be aware of what they listen too. Besides I like getting the raised eyebrows when they realize that maybe their parents not only listen to, but may actually like some of, their music.

Posted by: diamond dave at January 22, 2008 03:41 PM

Try getting him to listen to some classic Sugar Hill Gang.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at January 22, 2008 04:19 PM

I'm with TN on this one...

" I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat..."

Amen Brotha...

Call me next time you visit the folks, We'll do a Guinness, or two...


Posted by: P'cola Titan at January 22, 2008 11:42 PM