Children don’t understand decorum.
They don’t know that society has rules. That society demands you behave in a certain way in certain places. It’s called being civilized.
Children are not civilized. My two-year-old might as well be a rabid animal most of the time.
Getting him to behave the way one is supposed to behave is impossible.
Mom and Buried showed the kid an old “Mr. Rogers” episode the other day. To my surprise, he sat in rapt attention for the entirety of the the episode. He can’t get enough of it! He’s constantly asking to hear “the neighbor song.”
We try not to let him watch too much TV, but he definitely sees some and Mr. Rogers seems like a pretty healthy option. It’s amazing to me that it holds his attention as much as it does, especially when his other favorites are hyperkinetic shows like “Yo Gabba Gabba”, more basic animated stuff like “Curious George”, or the inexplicably popular – and British! – “Thomas the Tank Engine.” But it’s a good thing. Mr. Rogers seems like a decent enough role model.
He’s definitely a better influence than the other adults that appear most frequently on my TV, as illustrated in the old post I’ve resurrected below (even if he does have questionable fashion sense.) It seemed appropriate to bring this one back today, as two of the characters mentioned within (Don Draper and King Joffrey) are returning to TV this month and Jesse Pinkman’s final season isn’t far behind.
God knows my kid won’t be watching any of those shows anytime soon, so “Mr. Rogers” it is.
Original Post: I Learned It By Watching Someone Else!
But if they ever make this sitcom version of “Breaking Bad,” it looks like something my son and I could watch together.
Years ago, Mom and Buried and I learned a parenting lesson we’d never forget.
A woman and her son were walking around Fenway Park, the little boy happily toting a Red Sox balloon. All of a sudden, the balloon popped. The kid was startled by the noise and saddened that his balloon was gone, and we steeled ourselves for a meltdown.
But his quick-thinking mother defused the situation. She responded immediately with a wide smile and a big laugh, brightly exclaiming, “Your balloon popped! Who cares, right?” In no time, her son was laughing along with her. She’d thwarted his natural inclination towards getting upset by treating the whole thing as no big deal. When he saw that Mommy didn’t care, suddenly neither did he. Shit happens.
Even without kids of my own, I knew it was a brilliant move. Years later, with a two-year-old of our own, it seems just as brilliant, even more essential, and a lot harder than it looked.
My son is at the age where he’s constantly imitating his parents, which is cute, but could eventually get problematic, especially once he can really talk. My wife and I haven’t yet gotten the hang of the whole “we’re role models” aspect of parenting and we swear like sailors (foul-mouthed sailors.) So I worry that our son is going to pick up some bad habits.
That said, I’m not letting some snot-nosed little kid change my personality/behavior/way of life. I mean, I’m like ten times his size and a LOT smarter. A LOT SMARTER. I could literally throw him in the cabinet under the sink and go watch March Madness all day while wearing a beer helmet and he couldn’t do a thing about it. He can’t work latches! So no, I’m not changing for some mush-mouthed nincompoop, not after working my ass off all week long. I’ve gotta live my life too, junior!
But I still want him to grow up right, just without, ya know, working hard at raising him. So, as we Americans do, I sought out a short-cut. And I found one, in television.