I was dropping my wee one off at school a few mornings ago and the young man in the car in front of mine caught my attention. He opened up the door and the music flooded out with him. I didn’t recognize the song, but I did recognize the four letter words streaming loudly from his speakers. The
staff at the door stood back, watching and listening as he slowly
helped his first grader out of the back seat and into the doorway of
the elementary school cafeteria. The wide eyed
stares of the principal and gym teacher obviously didn’t register with
this gentleman as he returned to the driver’s seat without turning down
the music and drove away.
I have seen this more than I care to recall; especially in the spring. It’s not quite hot enough to crank the fake air. Folks are glad they can roll down their windows for the first time in months. It’s
a glorious time. The trees are blooming. The sun is shining. The
bass is pounding and the babies in the back seat are slowly losing
their hearing as they sing along to “Doo Doo Brown.” Your little one screaming, “Face down, ass up” in the sand box amuses you? I’m horrified.
I understand we have gotten away from the village raising the child. We are all little villages of three and four who fight fiercely for our parental independence. In
other words, no one is interested in some stranger telling them how to
raise their kids. I also understand that these kids have an
easy access to information that no previous generation could have
dreamed of and Hip-Hop is but a morsel of that.
can’t shelter them like the children you see in those comedy movies
who have lived underground in a bomb shelter until they are 18. There
has to be some slow drip information IV administered or they will be
overloaded once turned out into the real world. However, I think it is
within the parental acceptance of inappropriate material that the problem arises. It’s not in the introduction of the topic, but how the
parents explain said topic that makes all the difference.
I remember being a kid and sneaking to hear Just-Ice’s “That Girl is a Slut.” That song was so vulgar; my little mind couldn’t comprehend it. We would giggle at the lyrics we did understand and try to decipher those we didn’t. I
don’t think that affected me negatively as a person, but the difference
is my mom and dad would have never played that music in my presence. I
knew that they would not have approved, so I knew it wasn’t suitable.
Some of these new millennium kids haven’t been taught that and they are
not going to be able to figure it out on their own.
I search for Hip-Hop my son can listen to. I
regularly sit for 90 minutes checking out some CD I would have never
purchased on my own accord just so I can locate something to put on his
mp3 player. It’s work. I know. The
censoring on those Wal-Mart approved albums and radio edits is so
transparent, anyone can sing straight through them word for word. So
what’s a parent to do? Especially when that kid sitting next to your
baby in the lunch room can prattle off tales of beating the bush all
night while he’s sipping sizzurp and puffing that purp, leaning sideways
better than he can recite his times tables.
not lil’ Mikey’s fault that he has been bombarded by all these images
and any parent will tell you it’s damn near impossible to shield your
children from all of them. But isn’t part of parenting laying out that path, whatever path we chose, and easing them down it? All forms of media can be awesome baby sitters, but we shouldn’t be using them as such. And
when your kid does pull something rank from the media pit, it is your
job to bring them to terms with it gently and within their realm of
Now I don’t want any of you to misinterpret. There
are songs I know from jump to fade that I love to death, but would
cringe to hear coming out of my kid’s mouth. There is definitely a time
and place for the music. I just don’t think that
time and place is 7:45 am in front of an elementary school or anywhere
within earshot of your mini me for that matter.