Hey, Jack? Did anybody at school today talk about what happened at the Oscars last night?
Okay…..Care to share what they said?
That Will Smith smacked Chris Rock upside the head after he told a joke about Will’s wife.
Okay….and how do you feel about that?
I don’t know. (Pause) Mom, why’d he do that?
How many of us parents had to have that conversation the other day? How many of us are still talking about this with our kids?
I watched it happen live. I was one of the millions that just assumed there was something wrong with my streaming and that the tv had glitched. It took a couple rewinds and a trip to Twitter to solve this mystery. At first I was consumed with disbelief, shock and confusion. Then I was pissed. The main reason I tuned into this ridiculousness was to watch Coda make history. Then that fool had to steal everybody’s thunder and kill the vibe. As I went to bed that night, those feelings started to morph into disappointment and frustration.
I’ve been a mom for twelve years now. My skill set has evolved over the years to suit the ever-changing needs of my children. I’ve taught them how to tie their shoes, wipe their butts, how to write their names, how to brush their teeth, hold a fork, and how to sing badly but fiercely. I’ve taught them how to use their manners, how to apologize and how to greet someone. But the most important lesson that I try to teach every damn day is how to be kind. Be respectful. Be humble. Be you. But for the love of all that is holy ALWAYS BE KIND.
So how do I explain to them why it’s seemingly okay to storm a stage and physically attack someone because you don’t like something they said?
As my children get older, I see what people mean by “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” It’s rather simple to teach a 2 year old to wipe themself when compared to helping them navigate Snapchat etiquette. I’d rather wipe the ass.
Along the way, I’ve watched as my children have looked to others for guidance as well. In the beginning, they thought Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora were model citizens. They both had incredible accents, catchy ditties, and always knew how to solve a problem. Oh, the sweet simplicity. Over time, they moved out of idolizing fictional characters and looked to actual humans. These days they adore athletes and superstars. And with this new adoration comes more tricky conversations. Why did they get arrested? What is rehab? And I have used these opportunities to talk about heavy topics like saying no to drugs, domestic violence and racism.
It’s getting trickier and trickier to navigate through this particular area of parenting, though. Disturbing world events and the dark side of our media-obsessed culture seem to give us fewer and fewer positive, public role models. And then we have the celebrities that think they are above everything and can just jump on stage, assault somebody, and then run their mouth. So where does this leave us parents?
For starters, let’s remember that celebrities, athletes, and politicians are also human. US Magazine even has a section labeled “Stars: They’re Just Like Us.” They pump their gas, they grocery shop, and they also once learned how to wipe their own asses. They also make mistakes. The difference is that their bad choices are on full display. (In my opinion, this is one of the many reasons why they should keep their butts seated on the velvet chair come Oscar night….)
Heroes ought to be individuals who set a good example, regardless of fame, popularity, or income. They lead by example. They are selfless, compassionate, and humble. Heroes and heroines stand up when others sit down and speak out when others can’t find the right words. They bring about change.
You know who that reminds me of? Us. The parents.
Let’s model for them the people we want them to be. Let us show them that when people say things we don’t like, we find a way to communicate our feelings without violence. It’s our job to represent the behavior we expect of them. Even if we, ourselves, want to smack some sense into somebody or give them a verbal beatdown. And, for the love of God, let’s please teach them that actions have consequences. (I’m talking to you Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences…..)
We are their heroes and heroines. So let’s make sure we act like it.
There goes my hero. He’s ordinary.