Thank You, Taylor Swift, for the Parenting Advice

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.

 

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Three Reasons Why I Really Don’t Like Country Music

I consider myself a tolerant person, open-minded, moderate, appreciative and welcoming of all points of view, opinions and tastes.

Except, that is, when it comes to country music.

With apologies to the hoards of avid fans of country music across the US – and to my colleague and friend Steve who posted about why he loves country music –  these are three reasons why country music makes every fiber in my body scream “nnnooooooo!!”

  1. It has no soul. I find country music so one-dimensional. Me, I need music that literally moves me. Rhythm. Depth. I want to shake my groove thang and get down. Foot thumping or thigh slapping ain’t going to cut it. Never mind the two-step; I want to bump and grind.
  2. It’s too twangy. To my uneducated, British ears, I hear the same strummed notes in every, single country track making it difficult to distinguish one singer or song from another. And each twang grates a little more than the one before it.
  3. It’s all one big sob story. And why does it have to be so literal? “Get your tongue out of my mouth cause I’m kissing you goodbye.” “I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you. Single bars and good time lovers were never true. Playing a fools game, hopin’ to win. Tellin’ those sweet lies and losin’ again.” “Sometimes its hard to be a woman. Giving all your love to just one man.” And so on.

Admittedly, it’s not all bad. I actually enjoy listening to some Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. And I love my cowboy boots. But please, for the sake of my sanity – and yes my productivity when at work – don’t inflict hours of country music on me!

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