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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.


Onemargaret said...

Oh! This is cute! Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend!

Annie said...

Childhoodspeech aims to help us revisit our childhood and learn the methods of how to preserve our traditions. We are thinking the same. Thank you for sharing.

Keep this post for the child. He will always remember how much you treasure and love his life.

Marco said...

I'm seriously wondering why you deleted your previous post in which a majority of commenters criticized you for posting a very discriminatory story.

From what I read in that post and also in this post I can see you're a very scared person.

I hope for your sake that you'll succeed in indoctrinating your children with your conservative ideas because somehow I don't think you'd be able to handle it if your son ever were to tell you he had ideas/beliefs that don't fit in your limited mindset.

You may think I'm trying to insult you with this comment but I'm not. I'm merely trying to wake you up. Wake up dude and realize the world isn't black and white but full of beautiful colors.

Nicky said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. As parents we do want to protect our children, but unfortunately can't control some of their environment like school, but you can re-enforce the love, morals etc when they are at home. The very first years of their lives are so vital, and if you've done the best you can, they won't forget. We talk a lot about what our family stands for, which I think helps.

Carmi said...

The best a parent can do is build a loving, caring home. This environment will help your child learn right from wrong, and will give him/her the tools needed to navigate the world.

Eventually, they'll set off on their own, and no headband will ever be able to give you any sense of control over their behavior. Indeed, it isn't about control. It's about trusting them to make the right choices for themselves, and trusting yourself that you gave them the tools to do so.

Boatbuilders eventually have to let their ships go to sea. One can argue that parenthood is little different.

MorganLighter said...

Just stopped by to see if there was any more blood spilled.
Guess not.
And I, too, wonder why you deleted your previous post.
You should restore it as it was a marvelous lesson about intolerance. That, too, should be a lesson that you don't teach your children.

Violet said...

"Nowadays we are simply worshiping aimless progressiveness." The progressiveness that our country is working for is not aimless, my friend. At least, some of us are progressives. Don't worry, there are still a whole lot of people out there who are trying desperately to hang on to outdated and archaic ideas and standards that simply hold us back from from becoming a more a united and fair society for everyone on our shores. You are no different than any other fundamentalist who straps a bomb to their ass and then destroys the lives of innocent people just to attempt to prove a point. I know how conservatives think they are better than everyone else. You believe you are the standard that everyone should hold. You are wrong. I feel sorry for your child.

Hercules said...

I beg the differ. We are wondering progressive aimlessly. Our society is moving forward being blind folded by colorful voices. We are being "lured" in to thinking some progrssive movements are the right ones in which it does more harm than good. This is not archaic thinking but instead real thinking.

Pamela said...

I believe what you stand for is courageous and honest. You are a concern parent and have every rights as to voice your opinion. I just can't believe how narrow minded some of us are considering your last post. I read the comments and frankly most of them perhaps don't know jack squat about the deep hole pit they are in. So sad. This is not about conservative vs liberal but rather about what is right or wrong.

Dr Jmom said...

I think some of the comments left here are simply ridiculous. They obviously don't have children and knows nothing about parenting. I pity those who are so misguided and simply flows along with MTV culture. PATHETIC!!

Fern Cohen said...

Love your blog and love you!
My daddy was nothing like you! If he were, I wouldn't need my therapist! I hope your kid grows up to appreciate having such a cool daddio, but alas, don't be discouraged if this happens later rather than sooner! My mom used to say "one day you'll know how lucky you were to have a mom who was home when you got home from school", but i much preferred going to my friend's house after school because her mom worked, so until6pm,we could play!! oh well......

Real Hannah Montana Wig said...

Aiyah, that gold head band thing is cruel! One should not have that much power ;)

I am not a dad yet, but I think a part of it is doing the right thing, and let your child grow the rest of the way. You must let things flow naturally, you cannot dam a stream because it will grow into a river, the water will find its way, either around or through it forcefully.

Sooner or later you will realize you cant shield your child from everything, its a bit risky and scary to say that the ultimate choice are your child's to make, but you can sure guide them towards the right way and they will go there (hopefully).

Life is scary at time, but its rewarding when it all works out. Life is full of surprises, but you will be amazed at how life surprise you for the good :)

Kris said...

why did you delete your first post, and all associated comments?

so much for not preaching intolerance?

Anonymous said...

"worshiping aimless progressiveness"


This statement is so strange it's hard to know where to start.

I'm a progressive, and the word itself "Progressive" means moving forward. So there's nothing "aimless" about being progressive.

As for "worshiping" I don't know any progressive who worships their progressive ideals. They hold their progressive ideals dear, things like equality, social justice, and openness. But they do so in the same way conservatives hold their ideals dear (prejudice, oppression, and corporate dominance).

This "innocence" that you are so desperately nostalgic for, didn't actually exist. In the early part of the 20th century there was genuine suffering for anyone who was not a white male. Minorities, women, gays - all of them were subject to humiliation, torture or death if they stepped out of their rigidly prescribed roles. Roles prescribed by the white patriarchy which held the power.

You see that time as beautiful and simple.

I see that time as oppressive and backwards.

Don't get me wrong, I think that American culture is a vast wasteland devoid of genuine value. But I lay the blame for that firmly at the door of the corporations whose main aim is to sell us a lifestyle that not only doesn't satisfy us on a spiritual level, but is designed to leave us craving more (and buying more).

The starlets of today are fodder in the advertising infotainment machine that drives capitalism.

If you want to protect your son, give him critical thinking skills. Teach him the value of human connection and creativity over shopping. Check out the movie "What Would Jesus Buy"

But don't try to shelter him from Katy Perry, that is ridiculous. Being gay is not immoral, and it is only bad if live in a country that doesn't let you have the same rights as everyone else and you risk getting beaten or killed for walking down the street.

If you want to see people who are earnest and straightforward, go to the Green Festival in DC... there you will see real progressives.

ben said...

What past are you remembering that was so sweet and innocent, compared to this one?

How many American cities have seen flaming riots recently?

You know, nobody is served well by coming up with some fantasy and then pretending that it's true.

dm said...

You should read the book
"Culture of Make Believe" by Derrick Jensen.

It's about our collective denial.

There are gay dads in South Carolina, your state isn't as conservative as you think it is: