Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do you suffer from over-exposure to lollipop-culture?

The following is written by the quirky and id-minded Brett Cohen.

Have you ever visited the movie theater and endured the kid movie of the week, knowing full well that "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" won't stand the test of time?  Have you found yourself wondering what the hell a Bubble Guppie is--and, why do I even care?  Or, have you caught yourself humming along to a tune in your head and then realized it's a song by The Fresh Beat Band--and you aren't even with your kids?

Unfortunately, I have.  And, sadly, I am not alone.  There are millions like me out there.  Perhaps you are one of those that suffer from over-exposure to lollipop-culture.  Well, I want you to know that there is hope and the cure is simple.  As parents, it's time that we flip things around and consider ways to expose our children to more classical pop-culture--however you may define it.  Not only will it add some sanity to your life, but it will teach your children about quality entertainment.  And, in the wake of the "Who the fuck is Paul McCartney?" twitter blasphemy during the Grammys and Wendy's subsequent plea for parents to educate your children, this lesson may be more important than ever!

So, here's some advice to consider as you expose your child to some of the older, more enduring classics:
• Aim for a slow transition. A lifetime of culture awaits your child. In the beginning, it’s recommended that you build gradually to Casablanca or Titanic.  Don't force it.  But, certainly, start the transition--or we may have a generation of kids growing up thinking Twilight is the greatest love story ever told.
• Align it with your child’s interests. Think about the things that excite your child. If he enjoys playing with dinosaurs, take him to the natural science museum.  If she’s constantly putting on singing shows for you, take her to see a play.  If he runs around the house in a cape, download the original Superman or Star Wars movie.  If she loves signing along to Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, switch the iPod over to Madonna or The Beatles.  (I'm sure she can pick up the chorus to Yellow Submarine pretty quickly.)
• Make it fun. If it's a Broadway show or a trip to the museum, make it feel special. Get dressed up. Have lunch. Take the train, if appropriate.  If it's a movie, break out the popcorn.  If it's music, play a game of freeze dance or break out the air guitars.
• Don’t get frustrated. He may only sit through 30 minutes of the movie. She may be more interested in lunch than the show. You have to start somewhere. Enjoy it for what it is—time spent with your child. You may be surprised when she brings it up a few days later and tells you how fun it was.
Got any other tips or personal stories?  Share them in the comments section.

Brett Cohen is the author of Stuff Every Man Should KnowRecipes Every Man Should Know and the upcoming Stuff Every Dad Should Know--so, he's clearly qualified to dish out advice like this, right?

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