Thursday, April 30, 2009

To Censor or Not to Censor? That is the question!

This morning my little family of currently 3 - normally 4 and there are only 3 short days left until it is 4 again - were getting ready for the daily grind. School for them, work for me. While going through the motions each morning I enjoy listening to music. This morning I chose Galaxy Station #402 Maxx Track Hit List as my ear candy. Just in case you didn't know, here in the great white north if you subscribe to digital cable the first half of the four hundred series channels (at least they are with my provider) are music without interruption (the selling point that sold me) of various themes, genres and time periods., The Galaxy Stations.

OK, back to my morning. I was in the bathroom doing my hair and Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl begins. Normally, either my husband or myself or both would make a mad dash at this point to the remote control to change the channel to something that is a little easier on the ears of the youngsters in the house. This morning, however I did not. I rebelled. I figured, what is the point? Side note -this thought process pertains almost exclusively to my daughter, who is about a month shy of her 13th birthday. My son spends the majority of his waking hours in a world of his own and probably would have been surprised to learn that music was even playing, also he is only 8 and I think the topic of this particular song would have been lost on him. -End side note. We try to regulate the music/movies/tv/books etc. our kids are subjected to. Heavy emphasis on the we, because no one else does. Our daughters school played Akon's Smack That at a grade 5 or 6 (whatever, sometime before now) dance, for Pete's sake! Smack That! And this is why I did not break my neck trying to change the song.

Herein lies my bone of contention. I can censor the bejeebers out of what is in my control. But as my children age, what I control is quickly going the way of the dinosaur. And has been for some time.

We used to live in another town in another province. In this other town there was a big box store we liked to visit. The route to said big box store, unavoidably (trust me, I tried, without adding 10 extra minutes to the drive, it was unavoidable) passed a Catholic School. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. The billboard in the schoolyard that proclaimed in 3 foot red letters on a white background that "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart" was a problem (in case it matters, I am pro-choice and if it doesn't, check the title of the blog, you're in my world now!). For years we passed it without incident, but inevitably the question was asked by my then 8 year old daughter; "Mommy, what is abortion?" I try very hard not to lie to my kids, I loathe to avoid answering their questions. I want to be the person they ask the tough questions of. I want them to trust they will get an honest, accurate, objective answer. I want to be the Mom who gives age appropriate answers without beating around the bush or flat out refusing to answer and use "You're too young for that" as my crutch. I don't want to be a person who begrudges others an opinion. I did not begrudge that school the right to display their beliefs on a billboard facing on Main Street. Not until that moment. And at that moment I could have torn the billboard down with my bare hands and shoved that opinion down the throats of the people responsible for that billboard. Because I did not want to explain to my daughter what an abortion was.

I know, it seems like I've digressed a little but bear with me. I do have a point. I will get to it. Soon. Promise.

I let Katy Perry sing. And wouldn't you know it, my daughter sang right along with her. So I was right. Despite our incessant attempts to keep her from hearing what we have deemed too mature for her, she heard it anyway. She didn't freak out and ask why one girl was kissing another and liking it, which is what made me uncomfortable in the first place (no I am not opposed to Gay/Lesbian relationships, but.......c'mon! Another topic, another time, K?). And, I think I've made it to my point! Whew! Is censorship a device to protect our children or one we use to protect ourselves?

What happens to children when they reach age of majority and all the shit we've kept from them in the name of protection comes flooding in? Without the information hidden behind the censor, have we provided them with enough to deal with the onslaught? That's what it will be. All the horror they were never allowed to watch, the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" they know nothing of, the violence and depravity of the version of reality (loosely used term, right there) the news conveys. Have we remembered to tell them the important stuff? All of it? Did we mention sexism, racism, elitism, violence, rapists, murderers, and every other manner of injustice and crazy? Or did we fear for their innocence and concede that they were to young to understand? And now that they are adults, by way of nothing more than a birthday, are they prepared? Will they be able to cope? Have you done your job?

Wow! I think maybe, this got a lot bigger than I thought it would.

I think the things we are trying to keep from our kids are the very things that may provide one of the many opportunities we get as parents to explain in an age appropriate way the value of morals, what it means to have rights and responsibilities, what respect for oneself and neighbor entails.

Will I continue to regulate what my kids watch/read/listen to? You betcha! But maybe not in such a dictator fashion and I will welcome some of the harder questions. Because it's an opportunity, not a cross to bear.

OK! Rant Over! Eyvi out!

1 comment:

  1. So where do we, as parents draw that magic line in the sand? Is there an age? A special cue? I consider it my duty as a parent to protect the innocence of my offspring for as long as humanly possible - and if this means forcing Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, religion and whatever other 'leap' is required from time to time down their throats - then ... make it so - number 1, I sez.

    So then, at what point do I reveal myself a fraud? I agree that the utter shock of just how much 'bad' there is out here in the real world is a little too much for me to even bear most days... 'tis a dilemma - no?

    OK! Comment over! Danica out ...