Michelle Kemper Brownlow: Listening to the lyrics of popular songs these days makes me nauseated! Such as:
"I'm gonna tie her to the bed
and set the house on fire!"
Now, before you jump down my throat, I KNOW this song is a statement about domestic abuse, and Eminem and Rihanna have the right idea to bring awareness to such an awful epidemic. OK, point taken, but how many 14- and 15-year-olds do you think KNOW this? How many 14- and 15-year-old boys "get off" on the idea of dominating a woman? More than you'd like to admit. I know: "Not MY son." But are you sure that message isn't going deeper than you think?
I have commented before on my abhorrence of Top 40 and how my children need permission from me before putting a song on their iPods. But when a song with a punchy beat and catchy tune gets stuck in their head, the last thing I want those lyrics to be is,
"Come on rude boy, boy
Can you get it up
Come here rude boy, boy
Is you big enough
Take it, take it
Take it, take it
Love me, love me."
We can thank Rihanna for that one, too. Then there is "BedRock," by Lil Wayne (apparently he's not so "lil" anymore):
"Maybe it's time to put this p***y on your sideburns ...
I love your sushi roll, hotter than wasabi."
Parents, I implore you to take responsibility for what your children are listening to. There are plenty of popular songs that ARE sending good messages and are just as catchy and just as cool. Take Jimmy Eat World and their song "The Middle," for instance. The words to this song, if lived out in every middle and high school in the country, could change lives:
"Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away.
It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
Hey, you know they're all the same.
You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in.
Live right now.
Yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else."
Or Barlow Girl's "Mirror":
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, have I got it?
'Cause Mirror you've always told me who I am
I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect
So sorry you won't define me
Sorry you don't own me
Who are you to tell me
That I'm less than what I should be?
Who are you? Who are you?
I don't need to listen."
Sure, our kids are going to hear inappropriate songs here and there, but make them aware that "what goes IN comes OUT!" It's so important to take a stand for your kids and let them know you care. I recently e-mailed our school principal when I found out that the middle school gym teachers had "Rude Boy" on the workout CD they use in class. I included the lyrics in the e-mail. She'd had NO idea it was being played, and the gym teachers had never listened closely enough to the lyrics to know what the song was saying. They all agreed it was a gross oversight and that the song would be immediately removed from their playlist.
You would be surprised how many people WON'T think you are a prude and will truly admire the attention you give to detail. Especially the details surrounding our youth -- our future!