I’m a big Taylor fan and not just for her toons. Mostly because “Shake It Off” has become the most awesomest parenting tool.
Her popular song has helped me reinforce some key messages with my kids. Stuff parents have said throughout the ages – but somehow now, with the Taylor seal of approval, now the kids are listening.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” still rings true but telling a kid to “shake it off” when other kids say mean stuff seems to resonate more.
And yes, accidents happen, but if you can “shake it off”, child, then we can all learn and move on.
And so on.
I put Taylor’s words of wisdom to work recently with my daughter. We were selecting boxes of Valentine’s cards for her classmates. Now my kid’s a tomboy (and I love it) and in the past, she’s rushed to pick out Transformers or Star Wars-themed cards. But this year, she hesitated and instead, picked out a Hello Kitty box. Because, she claimed that her classmates don’t think it’s cool that she “likes boy stuff.”
Well, this made me mad. And so it begins, the peer pressure that makes kids feel they have to fit in rather than stand out. I get it, I really do. At their age, non-conformance is abhorrent. But I want my kids to be true to themselves and their passions. To stand up for their beliefs, have conviction. Even if that belief is that Transformers are cool. (They are.)
But how to instill in them that it’s OK to follow their hearts and be different? The kid and I had a serious chat. With tears welling in her eyes, she explained that she was embarrassed when the other girls told her it wasn’t cool to like boy’s stuff.
I looked her in the eye and asked, what would Taylor Swift do?
Shake it off, she responded, knowingly, her head held a little higher.
Thank you, Taylor.