Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Scarier: Zombies or Stripper Poles?

There are maybe 45 random blog entries I could write at this exact moment. Life has been rewarding, interesting, and full lately and the fuller the life the less time I seem to make to write about it. I’ve been reprioritizing, and finding a time to write--something I do for nothing more than selfish pleasures right now--has been difficult. But that’s a whole different blog entry.

The main thing occupying my mind today is my students, what I see in them, what is good, what is scaring the crud out of me as someone who will be old and helpless when they are running the world. What parents choose to allow their kids to digest into their bodies and minds is their business. I am only speaking as a somewhat objective outsider who grades creative short story assignments. My thoughts: turn off the tv, video games, and any music that includes the words “ho”, “pole”, “disco stick”, or any reference to “capping someone”. I think zombies as an entire genre should also be outlawed. Quite frankly, at seven months pregnant I almost couldn’t get through some of the “stories” I had to read due to nausea. I had to soldier through so I could let the students know exactly why they would be rewriting their rough drafts. I told them from the beginning to make them school appropriate and was pretty specific on what that meant, but I finally realized something this year: this IS what they consider appropriate. When you can see strippers, shootings, and someone getting their throat slit (sorry Lost, I loved you but this is primetime before kids are in bed tv viewing and I almost puked seeing the throat slitting) before 8:00 and this is “family time”, the word appropriate takes on a whole new meaning. When the only radio stations I can turn on with my daughter in the car are Christian stations, 98.7 KLUV, or my classical station so my child won’t learn four letter words or slang for sexual favors, something is not right.

I’m not that old, I’m completely AGAINST censorship, and I am for parents raising their kids, not society. I’m just wondering why we don’t stop pouring our money into this kind of entertainment, which only allows it to thrive. At the very least, can we stop buying it for our kids or letting them view or hear it?

I’m sure none of this is startling to anyone who is ever around kids. I just think most people in education see things on a larger scale, and that’s what makes it alarming. You think kids aren’t affected by violence? Yeah, that’s the problem. They don’t flinch when people are stabbed, shot, or eaten by zombies. They could write screenplays that are more gruesome than most of my nightmares. It’s so second nature for them, as is a completely casual attitude toward “hooking up”. Doesn’t the fact that they aren’t outwardly phased mean they have somehow been affected in a more permanent, more disturbing way?

Lest you feel this blog is coming from a home where only pure things enter our minds, don’t be mistaken. Honestly, we rarely, and I mean almost never, turn on the TV at our house. However, Dennis and I do have a show we watch that has some gruesomeness in it, and that’s Fringe. Do we watch it when my daughter is around? Never. We order the Netflix videos after the season has been released and have a date night on the couch. Am I becoming a more intellectual human being watching this show? Probably not, but I still do it. It’s one of my few pointless outlets, and it’s viewed on an extremely limited basis. But there are still temptations everywhere you look, and even though I’m not as impressionable as a child or teen, I still don’t think some habits benefit me. Reading trash magazines while I wait in line at the grocery store? Probably killing brain cells I might need one day. Accidentally listening to a Kesha song where it took me a full minute to realize she was encouraging me to get “my drunk text on” and take my clothes off because I was so distracted by the beat? I don’t even want to relive that experience it makes me feel so stupid. But I know better than to defend this behavior. I can acknowledge it and say, with Christ’s help, I’m really trying to eliminate things that in no way could ever be seen as glorifying to Him. My students on the other hand actually attempted to defend watching The Real Housewives of wherever(never seen it) because of the lessons you can learn from it. Lessons? Don’t go on reality TV because you only end up looking stupid? Do you have to actually watch reality TV to understand that lesson?

The truly scary part: I have amazing kids this year. The kids are not bad; they’re just a true reflection of what our society chooses to value and promote wrapped in 13 year old bodies that serve as a startling reminder of how off track our priorities are now. Believe it or not, I would like my children to be surprised, alarmed, and appalled if they see anyone shot, stabbed, or eaten by a zombie. I want my daughter to slap the first guy who refers to her using any terms I’ve heard in a rap song. Maybe violence is not the Christian answer, but if anyone besides her husband mentions anything about a “disco stick” around her, so help me, I will probably slap them myself. And for ladies even attempting to date my son, you are not immune. Don’t show up at my house wearing stripper heels. I’ll knock you off the porch steps.

There’s enough scary, questionable stuff in the world. Kids don’t need to have seen most of it in some form before they hit puberty. It goes back to being an intentional parent, and yes, it’s exhausting. I think it’s worth it though. From where I’m sitting, I can tell you the cost of not being intentional is pretty high. Our kids are paying it.

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