January 29, 2010

How Pop-Culture Shaped My Life

I ran across a couple of articles recently that made me stop and consider how pop culture has influenced me throughout my life. What is popular at the time, what things I adopt into my own lifestyle and even what I wear or what hairstyles I chose? It certainly has produced interesting photo opportunities for my parents which have proven quite painful when seeing my so called “cute” bowl-cut haircut (mom insists it was the Dorothy Hamill style, I'm pretty certain it was an unfortunate accident involving a bowl and curling iron!) and striped dropped waist sweatshirt dress with off the shoulder styling’s and leg warmers - Think Flashdance clothing for kids!

Pop culture takes on a whole new shape though as I age. Things that have always been in my life are fading away to be referred to as relics; Antiques of the past to be hidden away for future generations to wonder “What were they thinking” only to be found later tucked into a museum for future generation of children to say “Ooh that looks cool”. I find myself wondering though, what things of today will be remembered as something interesting? What images will my children grimace at when glancing at dated adolescent photos of themselves?

I have mentioned many times that I plan on being the type of parent that encourages through leading by example. In the case of pop-culture though, I’m just crazy enough to exploit some things I feel less exuberant about by gently urging my children NOT to do certain things, of course through leading by example. You want green/purple/red hair; see how cool mom looks with it! Does wearing baggy pants look enticing? What does mom look like with a pair of droopy, poopy-looking pants on the ground? Want to have some nasty-lyric song blaring throughout the house? I’m going to learn all the words and sing them loudly while it’s playing… I am moderately certain that what once seemed like a good idea will quickly be dismissed as something the “older generations have adopted”, and hopefully dissuade my children from jumping on the band-wagon adopting these often weird oddball fads.

In saying that though, I am also need to remember that these fads really don't matter much in the long run. Will allowing my child to temporarily paint his hair alter the person I am teaching him to be? Will allowing my daughter to have one too many holes in her ears turn her evil? It comes down to choosing my battles I suppose and teaching things that are really important to me. It also comes down to helping my children understand that some things considered cool may not be the best idea later in their lifetime. Will it injure them? Maybe just their pride, and quite possibly only when they glance at themselves in 40-or-so years and think, “What WAS I thinking?”

For me it's about teaching “respect”, respect for everything in life and how my children can learn to live within that realm. I will encourage my children to walk their own path in life and to hopefully walk to the beat of their own drummer. If they encourage some pop-icon that they choose to follow for a time though, that’s probably fine, however I’m hoping they’ll see some of the foolishness for what it is and choose their own unique path - It may not be the popular one, but it certainly makes for an interesting journey!

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