Thursday, October 29, 2009

Illiterate and Proud of It

On Saturday, my husband and I took our two oldest kids to a Disney on Ice show. Besides realizing about ten minutes in to the show that this was a total waste of money, we understood the extent to which our kids are pop culture illiterate. While the little girl next to me was singing along with all the cartoon characters, my children were more consumed by the mechanical side of things:

"Mom, is the fog real?"

"Mom, are the cars real?"

"Is there anyone behind the wheel?"

My favorite, said by my three year old son when he saw Ariel for the first time:

"I don't like that lady. Why couldn't she put on some clothes?"

Half of the show was about Tinkerbell finding a purpose for her existence in the fairyland. The purpose of life was found when she first messed up the garden and then fixed it with one turn of some wheel. I was looking for food for thought or a moral lesson, or setting of example, but failed to see one. Magic, fairies, spells, witches were there and made me quite uncomfortable. You can debate with me that fantasy and imagination is crucial for child's development and that all of the things above are just FUN, but there is something inside of me that calls to guard my children from it. I d0n't see a lot of tolerance for witchcraft in Christianity.

I was happy to answer my children's questions about who it is they were watching and what was going on. It didn't bother me at all that my children weren't literate in the world of Disney. In fact, I was pretty proud of that fact. In our house hours of television and movies are substituted by pretend play and imagination that comes from within their little brains. I was proud because the tube is rarely on because of my children's desires to do other things not because I control it so and the small collection of Disney movies is collecting dust. I was proud because their vocabulary and knowledge not of pop culture but of letters, numbers, kid songs, juvenile science and geography concepts sets them apart from other kids their age.

I am proud to be raising pop culture illiterate nerds. There are so very few of us left.

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