Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RIF

Despite my love of pop culture, I am not one of those parents who push it on my kids. Yes, I’ve dipped their toes into the water of super heroes and Star Wars, but it’s nothing like the parents I know who were showing the original trilogy to their toddlers or putting them on a steady diet of cartoons before they turn 5. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to share what I love with my kids—especially the Bean. But he isn’t ready.

The Bean is what I call a young 5. He’s more sensitive and what he loves are shows like Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba and Word World. Word World is a show that teaches reading, where everyone and everything is made of words. And it has captured the attention of my son like the Sirens captivated Odysseus or how a woman in a Snow White costume captivates me (but that’s another story). Right now Word World is just about the only show my kids will watch. As a result, the Bean is becoming obsessed with letters. He wants to learn to sound out words and he’s asking us how things are spelled. The other morning, WonderWife™ told me he actually read a bunch of words. He’s also been typing them out on her computer. I’ve even seen him try to teach his sister to read.

All of this is incredibly exciting as we slowly segue from picture books into chapter books.  It didn't occur to me, but the world of reading is the gateway into cool pop culture. Pretty soon he’ll be into things like the Captain Underpants series. Then I’ll introduce him to the comic book Bone--an excellent all-ages fantasy. There are comics now of Cars and The Incredibles.  And when he’s older, Harry Potter is waiting for him.

I’m okay with not being a guy who’s forcing my TV and movies down my kids’ throats.  My patience with my kids is being rewarded.  Because left to his own devices the Bean is choosing to watch a show like Word World that is stoking the literary fire within him. And although he may not be that interested in pop culture now, I know that he will be once the words start flowing.

10 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

I don't force it down my kids' throats, but I don't shy away from it either. If they ask me about one of the figures on my shelf, or something like that, I tell them.

(And dude... SO with you about the Snow White thing.)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SciFi...I am not saying that any parent who shows their young kids stuff like Star Wars is a bad parent. Some kids are ready for it earlier than others. But I've seen some parents literally forcing their kids to watch at, what I consider, way too early.

As for the Snow White thing...let's just say I've been a fan since I was a little kid.

Didactic Pirate said...

This is true. Thanks to marketing tie-ins, books are stepping stones to TV shows and movies. It's insidious, really.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Pirate...Yes there are the marketing tie ins, but there's also a ton of original stuff. And even if it's a tie-in, it's still reading. Right?

James (SeattleDad) said...

I'm with you there. We are very slow about introducing Lukas to such stimulous. He will have plenty of time later to catch up. And like you, I don't judge people who do.

Andrea said...

My kids watch Star Wars and have for a few years. I introduced them to Goonies (because with two kids, try stopping the littler one from doing what the older one does). I had forgotten just how much questionable language is in that...

I would love for my almost-in-a-few-days-nine-year-old to watch Indiana Jones. I loved those as a kid. But there's no way he's ready for that. It's realistic death as opposed to Star Wars where there's no blood (even when you get chopped in half by a light saber). I did try to read Harry Potter with him but he wasn't interested (which completely broke MY heart). Maybe in a few more years he'll be ready.

FilmFather said...

Great post. My boys are almost 5 and 8, and there is plenty of time for them to be exposed to older-kid and pre-teen movies, shows, etc. Let them act their age. Both of my boys are obsessed with Kirby and Webkinz, and that's fine with me...though the day my older one turns 8, he and I are absolutely watching Star Wars together (which is how old I was when I saw it in the theater).

Daddy Geek Boy said...

James...It's all about the kids. If the kid is ready for it, have at it. Just don't force (pun kinda intended).

Andrea...Yeah face melting Nazis are pretty hard core. Indy Jones freaked me out when I was a kid.

FilmFather...Can't wait to read how the screening goes...when it happens.

Surfer Jay said...

Patience....yeah that's the hard part for me. My boy isn't even three, and yet I want to cram our beloved characters down his throat and cork it untill he absorbs them all. And I am dying for him to be able to cpmrehend a move like star wars. But alass, I think you are right, I need to wait untill he is capable of handling it. Of course, he has all the actiuon figures, even the 8 inch Marcus from Gears of War.... And he knows who Spidey is better than who is great grandma is( yes my doing:)) But I showed him an old spidey classic cartoon, and he yelled at me because he didn't like it. And it occured to me, what the hell am I doing. This is violent, and fast paced and explosions and sinister faces. I can't show him this stuff yet. Kirby...kirby where are you when i need you? Wait...nooooOOOooO!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Jay...Sayeth Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.