Remember when you could turn on the TV and see shows that were genuinely entertaining? Some of them even tried to offer a look at proper family values and problem solving? The Crosby Show is one of the first ones to pop to mind, even though that’s an old one. Heck, even shows like CSI are entertaining in their own right.
Then…reality TV came along…and television went to hell in a handbasket. Unfortunately, this type of programming could have been quashed early on, but some people actually like it. To my dismay, a lot of people like it. I don’t get it. I think of shows like…
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Image Courtesy of <images.pictureshunt.com>
and I’m literally disgusted. I’m disgusted that producers make shows like this, and I’m ashamed that so many people LIKE shows like this that they are taking over the airwaves. What in the hell is wrong with people? When did it become a good thing to WATCH people cheat, lie, backstab, get stupid drunk, get into fights, live in excess and generally be poor examples of humanity? How did this become okay? Is this really what you want your kids to grow up seeing on the telly? Is THIS the type of thing you want them to learn from? And face it, they will learn. You can feed me or yourself all the crap you want about how ‘they don’t see that much’ or whatever… children see. Whether its at your house or someone elses…they see….and they emulate.
We have people starving in America. People homeless. We have so many things that money could be put to good use for…and instead we have people getting paid thousands of dollars to be their natural douche-bag selves on television…and we like it? I’m…almost speechless. I say almost because I’m obviously still writing this post, so I do have something to say.
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Why was this so popular? Man and woman already have two kids…decide to have more. Have 6 more. Because all know they made so much money they were obviously going to be able to care for all those kids. They can’t. They get a TV show. We get to watch… husband and wife fighting, and kids fighting, and husband and wife fighting, and kids fighting…and normal household crap… and they get paid obscene amounts of money for it. Why are we, as a public, sending the message that this entertaining, and worth watching? How is this possibly worth watching? How can we think it is okay to watch something like this so that we can sit back and look down on them? Does it make us feel better to see this? To think ‘well, at least our lives aren’t this bad?” I genuinely want to know, because I do not get it.
I was thinking of reasons why this has become okay, and started thinking about the fact that I can’t recall the last time Hollywood produced an original movie. That train of thought led me to a few articles I’ve read here and there about how imagination/creativity is dying off in kids. How we’ve become so focused on success, success, success that we’ve neglected to allow our children to have time to imagine, to create, to PLAY. Not do educational play, not play sports…but just to play. To dress up in Mommy’s shoes, or daddy’s shirts, wander around the house with a wooden spoon, bopping things on the head, and proclaiming “Abba-cadaba! You’re a cat!”
Recently, I was at the hospital with L, and they had given her a bucket of crayons to entertain her. The nurse said she’d be right back with some coloring pages. Well, it was taking a while, so I grabbed a napkin, spread it out… and L and I colored on that. When the nurse came in with the coloring pages, I started to fold up the napkin and throw it away. She immediately stopped me and said “No, no! That’s a wonderful thing! What you’re doing is great!” I must have given her an odd look because she went on to explain that giving a kid some crayons and a blank piece of paper is one of the best things you can do to encourage creativity. That we place so much emphasis on applauding when the kids color inside the lines and stuff that we forget to let them just have fun and make things up. When I told her that this blank page coloring was a regular thing at our house, she looked amazed and… very proud.
That blows my mind. That that type of thing is apparently so rare that the nurse would look amazed. At our house, we have washable crayons and markers and things like that. It is nothing for me to pull back the curtain on our glass-front door and hand L some washable crayons. I let her go to town on it. I’m right there, handing her colors, and encouraging her to scribble and have fun. Occasionally I work in the ABCs or her name to try to teach her something. At the same time, she’s also learning to clean up after herself, because I keep a pack of baby-wipes at hand to clean as we go. She actually gets mad if I don’t let her do the cleaning herself.
I can’t wait until she’s a little older, where she truly gets in to imagining things. I know I will be one of those moms who is running around the backyard with her, looking like an idiot as we ‘shoot’ space aliens, or play dress up with and have tea parties. I will encourage silliness, imagination, and play. I will not raise my daughter with the expectation that everything she does has to be a learning experience. I want her to do well, but I also know that she is a child and she deserves to have time to be a child.
In our house, we don’t watch regular programming anymore. We have netflix instant, so I can control what we see. L gets to watch an episode or two of Dora or the Backyardigans a day. Most of the time, though, L and I (or L and my boyfriend) are having fun together. Kyle reads Lily a story every night before he puts her to bed. We don’t really yell at L when she makes messes. In fact, I’m generally helping her make the mess. Today I had to sop up water on the kitchen floor because she was bugging me about wanting to wash her hands, so I turned on the water, picked up the kitchen sprayer, and hosed her down. She looked like a drowned rat, but she had fun, I had fun, and it took me two minutes to clean it up.
I am in no way saying that I am the perfect mom. I’m not. Kyle is a better parent that I am. I am simply stating that I think we, as a whole, have forgotten the value of just being silly and having good old-fashioned fun with our children, and I have to wonder if part of what we are seeing on TV could be, in part, a reflection of that.
Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now.