Yesterday I was out shopping when something happened that really made me think. A woman walked in to the store with her two girls that I would guess were around 8-10 years old. There was music playing in the store. It wasn’t particularly loud. However, when she walked in the incredibly popular Blurred Lines was playing. The woman snorted and said “Well they are playing it in here too. I guess we need to go”, grabbed the girls and in a huff marched them out.
This made me think about what I would do in the same situation. Would I have acted the same way as this mom did? Simply put, no I wouldn’t. And that, my friends, is not a judgement, just the truth.
First, I would consider where I was. I wasn’t at Chuck E Cheese or Gymboree. It was a beauty supply store. Second, they had the radio on. It wasn’t as though they specifically put this song on their play list. It’s not like they were tuned into Howard Stern either. I find it perfectly acceptable that a store of this nature would be tuned into a top 40 radio station. I know many find the lyrics, or specifically the message behind the lyrics, of this song offensive. But, in my case I have a three year old (she wasn’t with me at this time) and since the song is not full of expletives it really has no impact on her.
But what if I had an older daughter (or son for that matter)? Would that have changed how I dealt with this situation? On the surface no. I wouldn’t have stormed out of the store. I would rather use the opportunity as a teaching moment. I do my best to make sure what my child sees, where she goes, is appropriate for her age. Since she is either in daycare or with us all of the time it’s pretty easy to keep tabs on these things. But we also take her out, a lot. And again, we aren’t taking her to bars or heavy metal concerts but it doesn’t matter how diligent we are we cannot control what other people do or say. She has, for example, heard other kids curse at the playground. But my reaction is not to take my little angel and run. What lesson does she glean from that? She knows those words are bad. And she will talk about it. We discuss why those words aren’t nice and why we don’t say them. And since a playground IS NOT an appropriate place for that kind of language she also sees me talk to the offending kids and let them know it’s not appropriate. We don’t raise our hackles and we don’t take a passive aggressive approach either.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she should stand up for herself, for what she believes in. I also want her to know how and when to do that. I want her to understand that you can’t control the world and although sticking up for your principles is important, that so is knowing when to choose your battles and how to fight those battles. You can’t spend your life worrying about everything little thing that other people may or may not do. And let me tell you that is a tough lesson coming from a mother who is a stickler for rules!
How would you react in this situation? Would you react at all?