My Dad wasn’t always sure what to do with me. I was a typical kid who loved playing games and anything that involved being outside. And while I liked sports and Ice Cream. I also liked hard rock music. And a band called KISS was the center of that universe. While my Dad was religious he never showed any concern with me accidentally worshipping the devil. But I still wouldn’t call him supportive of my desire to rock. More, support by not stopping me.
He never seemed all that interested. But then nobodies dad did. You either had super strict parents that wouldn’t let you do anything but go to school and church or you had typical parents who would let you scrape your knees and put a few bumps in your head while they talked with other adults about grown up things. Most everyone I grew up with had to go to church and we all got in trouble if we got grass stains on our church clothes. And when one of our parents took us to a KISS concert it wasn’t for their enjoyment.
The modern Dad seems intent on making sure their kid is raised liking the same things they did. An AC/DC or KISS concert is something they feel their child needs to experience before it’s too late. Too late for what? They have to make you watch Star Wars because it’s awesome. I touched on this in my last blog. All of things you got into or enjoyed from your childhood or even into your teens and 20’s. Would they have better if your Dad were just as into it as you were? Would you want your Dad playing the role our friends did when we were kids?
Before you answer lets ask a couple of questions. Why does the modern dad feel it necessary to share Star Wars with his son? Bonding? A chance to relive their childhood? That’s probably what “they” will tell you. But while the second is probably more true than the first I think there is a subliminal reason festering in the brain of the modern parent. The myth of a loving father.
For some reason (TV) my generation seems to be the first that felt Dad didn’t love them enough. We wanted Mike Brady and got Archie Bunker. The world is full of 40 year old men who promised they would be more involved in their child’s life. From cutting the umbilical cord to attending Comic-con. They will leave work for little league games and make sure they know how much daddy loves them. At any cost. Which in turn has filled the world with 20 year olds who think the start time of their shift at Target is more of a guideline. And it’s no coincidence that music has stopped evolving because of it. We have immersed ourselves so deep into our children’s lives they have no organic path of finding anything new, including music, so they listen to what their parents listen to.
Starting with Elvis there has been a sizeable shift in music approx. every 5-7 years. By in my analysis (I am the Commissioner after all) there hasn’t been on since 1998. Every form of popular music, pop, country, hard rock and metal, has become more formulaic than at any time. And with streaming becoming more and more popular it will become even less likely the next great thing will ever be heard. Everything is heading toward monthly fees and contracts. Soon your toaster will need an internet connection and a signed user agreement to warm up a bagel. And it’s this generations fault. And therefore, their parents fault for raising apathetic slugs who don’t want anything and are devoid of any real inspiration. They just want their parents to continue to pay for their smart phone.
Discovery might be the single most important part of growing up. It’s not just about having a favorite band or creating fond memories. It’s what teaches us not to run in itch weed. And it’s what makes us seek out more of what we love and less of what we hate. It’s how we develop life skills like cognitive reasoning, time management and trouble shooting. It makes us think and that develops our brains. And with that it’s the parents job, NAY! It’s their sworn duty to allow that to happen as organic as possible. Now I’m not suggesting we go back to a time when the father smoked cigarettes in the waiting room while mom spent 36 hours squeezing you out (yes I am), but something closer to form of parent that raised us.
It’s time my generation cut our Dad’s some slack. They did a better job raising us than we’re doing with our kids. Most of us have fond memories of our fathers and moments we bonded. Are we so narrow that we can only bond with our kids if it involves OUR interests? Is it really the role of a parent to be friends with their children? Or should we walk behind them to help when they fall? Let your kids discover music and movies and so many other things on their own. Let them find their own Star Wars. Their own band. Let them have their own fond memories to share when they are older. I promise some of them will be of you. You are their Dad. And by God once they turn 16 make em' pay for their own cell phone. Teach em’ some fucking responsibility for fucks sake. Happy Father’s Day. Now fuck off.