Friday, August 1, 2008
From Hannah Montana to Katy Perry to our school yards (A repost)
My son is about to attend school for the first time in his life. He is very excited and would pretend to wake up early every morning, dresses himself and carries his brand new empty backpack downstairs to have breakfast with us. On normal mornings, he would stay in bed until mommy yells and screams before he would open one eye. As parents we are glad to see this enthusiasm for school being displayed by our child. Upon sitting down at the breakfast table, my son will say good morning daddy, are you going to work soon? Would you drop me off at school? Playing the part of a good sport, I will say to him, "Sure son! I will drop you off" with yet another reply, thanks daddy and I love you.
After playing pretend, I would be off to work. I turned on the radio for the latest and off I go driving and pondering for about 20 minutes before I reach my office. I started thinking about my son and about how excited he is about going to school. In my previous posts (Katy Perry's "I kissed a Girl"), I have discussed issues relating to gender identity. In today's moral climate, it seems this is a hot topic considered the amount of comments I received after the post.
From Katy Perry to Hannah Montana, Just how much can I shield my child away from the world spotlights. Every time, he goes off to school, goes to a neighbor's home, meet people at the library, music school, swim class and even Church or etc. He will be exposed. I can't locked him up at home and feed him the regular dose of "You need to be Good Speech". I am simply a very concern parent and not a bodyguard that sticks to my child 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. He needs to grow up on his own and make his own decisions. As a parent, it is no doubt increasingly more and more difficult to raise a child. We are constantly fighting a culture war with the world. Our TVs, MTV's, all the Internet Tube's are able to attract more attention than our parental influence.
My dad use to tell me bed time stories. One of the bed time stories is about the "Monkey King". The Monkey King was born out a special magical rock in the high mountains and at a tender young age, he was summoned by the Gods because of his mystical gifted special powers. He was a powerful defiant individual who later wrecked havoc among the Gods.
Many centuries later, another heavenly body known as Guanyin went out in search for disciples that could protect a pilgrim from the East. The journey will take a group of Godly heroes to India to retrieve the Buddhist sutras or equivalent of the Christian Bible. In hearing this, the monkey king offered to serve on this pilgrimage. He served a monk by the named of Zhang Zhen who was from the Tang Dynasty Empire. Guanyin understood that the monkey would be hard to control given his past, and therefore gave Zhang Zhen a gift: a magical headband which, once the monkey king was tricked into putting it on, could never be removed. With a special chant, the band would tighten and cause unbearable pain to the monkey's head. To be fair, she also gave the monkey king three special hairs, which could be used in dire emergencies. Under Zhang Zhen's supervision, the monkey king was allowed to journey to the West.
As a parent, I wish I could put this magical headband on my son and every time if I suspect something, I would just chant his name. This may sound cruel but sometimes it is a reality of just how hopeless it is to be a parent. We do not want to see our child get hurt and we want the best for them. We want them to grow up with integrity, honesty, be good citizens, failure is ok as long as you know how to pick yourself back up and be back on track. Aren't we all on a journey? Do we know where we are going or still wondering aimlessly. For us our journey of parenthood began a few years ago and now he will be off to school. No doubt he will be exposed to many different things. His eyes and mind will be wide open. He will be sucking up knowledge like sponges. His friends will be talking about the latest and the greatest gadgets. He will have his own inputs and thoughts of all these new things. I wonder what would my son be thinking about if Katy Perry or Hannah Montana or whatever the next minute popular culture brings. Would he be swayed by what is popular or by what is right or correct? Where would his standards be or measured?
At the very least I am glad that I live in a State that is still consider conservative. I have known friends that moved here simply because of recent laws that were passed in their home states. Although I feel a little bit more at ease since I know my child will be going to a public school which at least still teaches similar stands to when I was growing up but I do not know when this will change. I am not hanging on to the bad past of Black Americans being lynched, women can't vote, KKK or anything like that but simply reminiscing about the sweetness and innocence of it. There were many bad past but to be fair, there were also plenty of goodness and integrity in people's heart. Nowadays we are simply worshiping aimless progressiveness.