Shhhhh... listen. Can you hear it? That constant, droning, whining sound? That is the song of The Angry Parent and it tells the tale of a world gone wrong. It speaks of monsters and bullies, witches and zombies. And the song just keeps getting louder with each news update, social media post or meme. If you listen long enough, you may actually fall under the spell of the chanting that tells of us all going to hell in a hand-basket at the hands of the awful, terrible, disrespectful, evil "kids today." Be careful or you may actually start to believe that parents really DON'T have any control over the poisoning of childhood and demise of future generations.
For years, I struggled against the spell. I tried to find a way to reach The Parents and help them remember the songs from their own childhood, knowing that would help them appreciate that their kiddos of today aren't much different from the kiddos of the past. But their songs had no power anymore because The Parents had forgotten the words.
I turned to the magic of the all knowing Book of Face, but the stories there only made The Angry Parent's song louder and scarier and more entrancing...
Then, with a chill in the air, the seasons began to change and with them, a realization! Besides the turning and falling of the leaves and preparation for a dark, cold season, fall brought Celebrations! Football and Halloween!The two events which would bring The Parents together and expose the root of the real issue with the "Evil kids today!" Hoorah!
The stories in The Book of Face and in the Tweets of birds would give The Parents reason to band together as they learned of the dark secrets of once-great heroes. Strong, powerful men who committed horrible acts of violence against women and children. Scholars and athletes who raped and plundered, then posted the videos... And to show their disgust and intolerance for these unthinkable acts, The Parents would use the powers of Football and Halloween as the force to make a difference!
...Wait, no. That's not how it went at all! You see, what actually happened is The Parents chose to celebrate and make fun of the abusive, criminal acts of those monsters by dressing up as the abusers. The real ending to the story is that we mock and slap the face of decency, empathy and good judgement, all in the name of "fun" and then we wonder why our children have a warped sense of values, accountability and respect. We set the worst example but expect the greatest results. We sing our song of desperation, but do nothing to change the lyrics.
As the seasons change and the opportunity for celebration becomes more abundant, we as Parent Nation have the perfect set-up to re-write our song. To be the Hero we want our children to emulate. To not poke fun at or make play of abuse, rape and bullying, but to take a passionate stance against it... and involve our children in the process.
Perhaps, when it comes to reversing the spell of "The Evil Children," we need to stop looking at pages in books or magic spells to make it disappear, and instead, start looking at the reflection we project in the Magic Mirror on the Wall.