Since I’ve already shared my true feelings about Halloween I might as well put it all out on the table.
I hope my kids don’t ever want to go to Disneyland. And I think the Duggars (from TLC’s 18 and Counting show) are one cool family.
Oh boy. Before you think I’ve stepped off the deep-end hear me out.
Yes, I realize that my children would have a blast and in all honesty I probably would too. However in all seriousness, (and before you completely write me off as a terrible mother) I’d better explain why I’d rather not take my kids to Disneyland or embrace all that it entails.
I guess it’s not so much Disneyland – it’s just an easy target and therefore prefect example. Without a doubt many happy memories have been made there and I’m certain that our family will make the pilgrimage at some point. It’s just that I’m not one for the super-commercialization of things. (If you must know yes, it bothers me that my son recognizes Sponge Bob. It bothers me that I have now written about Sponge Bob.) I feel it’s worth asking: Why can’t we go to a place like Disneyland or the grocery store for that matter without someone trying to sell my kids something? As Henry gets older I’m realizing how everything is marketed to our kids. I’m not buying it. I do my best to avoid character themed clothing and to encourage toys without character themes into our house. Yes I realize that my days are most likely numbered and I will lose some control over this as our kids age, but for now I’m taking full advantage of my mom “veto” power.
A disclaimer, yes Henry loves Curious George and we have plenty of George books and a couple of stuffed monkeys. I think the key here is m-o-d-e-r-a-t-i-o-n. I don’t think Mickey Mouse is the devil. However my kids aren’t wearing Elmo diapers while munching on a Hanna Montana endorsed cereal, which has been marketed to them during High School Musical, while they sit in their Transformer chair, drinking Donald Duck orange juice. There is a difference.
My point? I will not intentionally allow my children to become commercial billboards. I want my kids to know that they can do and be anything – not just what is sold to their “target market.” That just because every other little boy in America was a themed costume character, it’s still OK (and way cooler) to be Henry the fireman. Or Henry the golfer, the architect, or yard guy. I want so much for my son and I never want him to judge his worth by a product that he either has or doesn’t have. My intentions for him are so much greater than some company that is just looking to make a buck at my child’s expense.
And just when I thought I was the only one that had such crazy thoughts in the middle of the night (struggling to stay true to what you believe – even when it’s not cool, or the easy way) I stumbled across another dad who has similar thoughts on the subject.
…If the only thing you’re feeding your children is fantasy for breakfast they’re going to be starving by noon, crash, and want a taste of the solid safe everyday life. All of the sudden you blink, they’re 3ft tall, opinionated, and they’re feasting on Happy Meals and soaking in Dora the *&^%#@ Explora like some new kid religion. So when you set to drag them away from it, throw them an apple and suggest a walk they think you’re being a mean #^&%$#. They think you’re depriving them of the good life. I don’t want this to happen. I can’t let this happen. So what has become vital to me, is to teach them that they can have more, but at the same time making sure that I am never feeding them delusional promises I can’t deliver myself. If I want them to believe that anything is possible, than I have to show them proof of that in their own lives. It isn’t enough to say that the world should be explored, we will just have to go out and explore it– that kind of a thing.
This little family of mine has children that are still too young to know the difference between the things that they are “supposed” to have, and the things that they simply just need. They have a chance like all children do to live a truly unique life. I am living under the belief that I will provide them that unique life. If I didn’t believe that than I couldn’t smile everyday like I do.
(I’ve edited this a bit, making it more G-rated, but you can get the full post at Pacing the Panic Room.)
On the Duggar family:
I have a eight-week old baby. Clearly I’m spending quite a bit of time on the couch nursing. This has resulted in a DVR full of “18 and Counting” episodes ready for me once the kids are in bed. Some may call this lame. Heck even I originally thought so, but even my sleep-deprived mush-for-a-brain was able to pick up some pretty cool themes.
I’ll give it to them – I think they are really on to something. No, I’m not totally on-board with the whole 18 kids myself, but their decision to put family first is pretty darn cool in my book. They aren’t afraid to go against the grain, choosing not to follow the “norms” that our culture has embraced. Instead they have decided that people are the priority. They don’t look at their children as burdens, and I’m doubtful that with 18 kids they have much in the way of “free” or “me” time. But they are a very happy and loving family whose desire is to serve as an encouragement to other families. And based on my postpartum observations that’s something to look twice at.
I realize that this post might make it seem like I’m teetering on the edge of crazy. But I strongly believe that as mom, my role is to protect and guard my little ones as long as I can, because if I don’t then who will? It may involve making choices (big and little) that will take our family down a road less traveled, but I’m ready for the adventure.
Slowly stepping away from the soapbox…
*I’m curious…your thoughts please…
**And yes I realize that as fate will have it next year I will end up with a Transformer, Handy Manny, and Clifford in our house for Halloween…