Saturday, February 06, 2010

Motherhood: Rocking It Out

There's a reason my children know all about Ed Grimley, Footloose, Anne of Green Gables, and so many other parts that make up the mother they know and love.

(It brings me no end of joy that my two oldest daughters adore Hitchcock. Hitchcock! I could sing!)

I show them older (as in 80s) TV shows, movies, and even YouTube clips under the guise of "educating" them so they'll be culturally literate. It's proven helpful for them when watching other shows or reading books and they get the inside joke, when none of their friends did, all because two months ago, Mom showed them whatever movie was referenced.

Totally rocks. (Kinda makes me look cool in their eyes, which doesn't hurt.)

And in some ways, it's made a difference with school: they see the point of studying Greek mythology and other subjects, because those things are referenced all the time in other things, and to "get" them, you have to know the original source.

My kids' first contact with musical indoctrination was with ABBA. I believe they all heard ABBA Gold in the womb. Recently my 9th grader had a teacher who offered a prize for any student who could name the song he was about to play on CD.

Within a couple of bars, my son's hand shot up. No one else had a clue, but he knew immediately not only that the group singing was ABBA, but that the song was "Voulez Vous." Had there been a piano in the classroom, he could have played it from memory (not even almost kidding).

He won the prize. (See, son? Cultural literacy totally pays off. Also, put your nose back into that geography textbook.)

The classic rock group Journey was their next big musical experience. It came in the form of Max singing "Lights" on Jillybean's blog. (GO NOW to listen to it. SERIOUSLY. NOW. SO WORTH IT. Then come back.)

To have my kids fully appreciate Max's rendition, however, they had to know the original first: Steve Perry. Trusty YouTube did the job. We found a video there with Journey performing "Lights" and Steve Perry crooning out his classic tenor soul.

Since then, my kids have been Journey fans. They were amazed to realize that a lot of songs they recognize are, yep, Journey songs. Somehow they missed the fact that on and off for their entire lives, Journey's Greatest Hits CD has been playing in the minivan.

They noticed that Randy on American Idol talked about being in the band. Then Glee made "Don't Stop Believin'" a return hit. And suddenly Journey was everywhere. My kids love, love, love Journey.

And then . . . the other day, my 5th grader came home from school ready to pass out with excitement.

One of her teachers had told the class about the time she had a backstage pass to a music group that she was sure the students had never heard of: Journey. Mrs. Miller had even gotten to talk with the lead singer, this great guy with beautiful long hair named Steve Perry.

My daughter gasped. She cried out that she knew who Steve Perry was, but Mrs. Miller didn't hear. Instead, she continued her story about what she and Steve had talked about, blissfully unaware that one student was sitting in her seat, frightfully near hyperventilation.

"Steve Perry, Mom!" my daughter practically yelled when she got home. "Mrs. Miller got to talk to STEVE PERRY!"

Moments like this make me realize that you know, I'm doing okay on this motherhood thing. My kids are learning the really important stuff.



Krista said...

I love this. We have Journey's Greatest Hits in the car AS I TYPE this. We have Phil Collins, Def Leppard, Erasure, etc... We were on a trip with cousins in our car and when all 4 of our kids started belting out, "When the lights... go down... in the citaayy..." at the perfect time and their cousins gaped, my husband and I beamed. My 17 yr. old's cd player has Abba Gold tucked in permanently. I think this is awesome.
You are a great mom. It's great to pass on the good stuff so they get it. So they laugh when their geometry teacher cracks a Ferris Bueller joke, gives an approving nod and a couple extra credit points.
Fun post!

Erin said...

Fun post! My kids love Queen (mostly because of Guitar Hero & Rock Band), and the music teacher at Ethan's school has taught him to love The Beatles. And Mozart. I'm a tiny bit ashamed that I haven't been playing more classical music at my house, considering I have tons on my iPod.

Mel Chesley said...

I'm hip! My daughter told me she actually likes the 80's movies. I think her favorite one at the moment is "Better Off Dead" with John Cusack. I like to watch those movies and shows with her, then when we see a specific actor in a newer movie, I ask, "Okay, who is that!?"
She gets it right more and more these days. Both of my teenagers are into a lot of the music I was into. I listen to a lot of the newer stuff these days and my kids always give me copies of their favorite bands.
Awesome post! I love it when moms are cool. I do have one last brag: I have Steve Perry's autograph. *Squeals like a teenager at Beatles* ;)

Wonder Woman said...

I'm listening to "Lights" right now. Went and found it on youtube. And my oldest knows half the lyrics to "Don't Stop Believin'" since the gLee version is on my playlist. Like Eric, my kids have learned some of the classics from RockBand. You are totally doing your job as a mom! Cultural knowledge is just as important as book learning. (Well, it is if they don't want to be TOTAL geeks!) I do think it's important.

awesome post.

Cheri Chesley said...

My kids also love listening to Journey's Greatest Hits in our minivan. Odd. Thanks to their dad, they also love Weird Al...sigh. Annette, you're such a cool mom!

Anonymous said...

That's wild. I LOVE Journey and ABBA. One of my old teachers had dozens of ABBA's spanish albums and promised me he'll leave them to me in his will. I guess he's still kickin' because I haven't seen them yet! Journey reminds me of driving around in my brother's mazda rx-7 and blaring "Wheel in the sky." And "Anyway you want it" is the BEST song to kickbox to.

Anonymous said...

p.s. ABBA's "winner takes it all" almost always makes me cry.

Amanda said...

Hmmm my kids haven't a clue who Journey is or even ABBA for that matter. I don't know that they will, either. I can't teach those things...I don't know them myself.

Glad you're doing such an awesome job keeping your kids up on pop culture, especially the 80s---it is coming back in so many ways.

We're more classical music people. We attended a Bach concert for Christmas and my 7 year old met the conductor and harpist after the 2.5 hour performance to tell them how much he enjoyed the concert and how he would treasure the bobble-head replica of the conductor that he received during intermission (not many people will ever know who J. Reilly Lewis is, but my son will). My son then proceeded to tell the conductor that his favorite Bach piece was cantata 129...once again, a limited number of people would know this piece off the top of their head.

Maybe I should consider infusing some pop culture into our daily school routine.

Jodee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodee said...

Just this morning I told my son about babysitting Peter Ceteras kids way back when. He asked who Peter was and I told him about a little group called Chicago.

Annette Lyon said...

HOLD THE PHONE, Jodee--You babysitted for Peter Ceteras?!

How come I never knew this? (I mean, we're almost related, kinda . . .)

* said...

You got me at ABBA Gold. (deep bow)

Lara Neves said...

Methinks I am shirking my parenting duties a little bit.

That said, my kids know plenty about Queen and the Beatles and Tower of Power ( YOU know about TofP?) and lots and lots of classical music. And they love it all.

I guess they even know ABBA because we do listen to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack quite a bit. But it's not quite the same as ABBA themselves.

Love the Journey story. It's really too bad Mrs. Wilson didn't notice your daughter being so thrilled about it!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

You truly are the coolest! I don't even aspire to be as awesome as you because I know it's not possible!

My mum raised me on 60's & 70's ( I ADORE ABBA) music to the extent that I missed the 80's and had to play catch up in the 90's, and so on and so forth. I'm still a decade behind... =P

Marta O. Smith said...

Oh, yeah, I indoctrinated my kids early that if anything by Journey or Chicago was on the radio, they were NOT to change the station. And thanks to my husband they love "Wipeout" and "Magic Carpet Ride."

I learned to like big band music because my dad always insisted we watch the Lawrence Welk Show with him.

Sarah M Eden said...

My kids have had the thrilling experience of becoming acquainted with "Thundercats," "Voltron," "He-Man" and "She-Ra" as those are some of my fondest memories from the 80s. They have recently been forced to sit through watching their parents totally rock out to MC Hammer, New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown and Milli Vanilli--that was how I spent the last part of elementary school. It's not Journey or Chicago, but it is part of the fabric of our culture (the frayed part).

Don said...

We had one of those proud parent moments when the girls picked the Journey playlist off of my iPod all on their own and had it playing in their room.

This is significant because that iPod also has everything from The Wiggles to Barbie to Hannah Montana and HSM.

They also regularly turn on ABBA's S.O.S. So we're doing well with the music. I'm trying to make sure they know and love Toto as well.

Movies are a little harder - one daughter usually falls asleep, and the other will leave during a commercial if the show is on TV and never come back.

And I can't find anybody to watch Labyrinth with me!

Sarah M Eden said...

Labyrinth! I suddenly have a deep and almost desperate desire to listen to some David Bowie!!!

Rebecca Blevins said...

One of the very first groups our kids were exposed to was Erasure.

"Who needs love like that" became "Who meeds for my bask" when sung by then two-year-old Professor.

Roxette is another. The kids love Queen as well. Plus I'm a big fan of not-so-oldies-but-goodies such as Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, etc.

Rebecca Blevins said...

I'm almost embarrassed to say that one of my kids' favorite movies is "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure".

Annette Lyon said...

Rebecca, You done good. Bill & Ted's is one I forced on my kids too--and they loved it of course.

A great one for making kids like Queen is showing them A Knight's Tale. (Also a great show for people who like Heather Ledger's acting. He's great in it. The guy who plays Chaucer totally cracks me up too. I like his role especially because of my English major background, because I'm such a nerd.)

Rachel Sue said...

I love this. I am so determined to not let my kids grow up oblivious to the wonders of '80's music. Glad to know it's possible!

Travelin'Oma said...

I learned about 20's music from my grandparents, 40's music from my parents, and 80's music from my kids. It's a great thing to have in common. This is a fun post!

Luisa Perkins said...

Journey and ABBA: two of the best!

Jenny P. said...

Okay, so my kids know the words to most of Coldplay's songs... does that count for anything? The oldest I ever was in the 80's was eight... so hard to pass on an appreciation for music that I never actually had myself. I know, sad. But they also know TONS of the Beatles, and quite a bit of classical, though I don't think they could identify it by name like my sister's kids will be able to...

Jillybean said...

Obviously, Journey is one of the favorites at our house. (have you heard Max's version of "Lovin' touchin' squeezin'"? It's too cute to be believed, especially if you see it in person)
I haven't been quite as good at introducing the offspring to the classic movies, I really need to work on that.
I will say that one of my proudest parenting moments was several years ago when my kids were ages 7, 5 and 3. We were cruising down Bangerter highway in the mini van when Bohemian Rhapsody came on the radio. Not only did the kidlets sing along, but they began the head banging at the appropriate place.
It was fun to see the strange looks that we got from the other people waiting at the red light with us. I really hoped that some of them were listening to the same radio station that we were.

Rachelle Christensen said...

What a fun post! I love music of all kinds and have ABBA Gold and Journey and love them!
I like your new blog button. :)

Anonymous said...

My Son brought my love back for Journey--thanks to itunes and classic cd purchases. I hate to admit this to the masses. I went and saw the movie Mamma Mia!!! 7 times Just because I was a die hard ABBA fan.

wendy said...

It is great that you are able and willing and take the time out to "enlighten" you children with music, literature.
Helps them be more rounded people.
Enriches their lives for sure.

you're a good mom for sure

Rachael Anderson said...

A great mom and a great writer! Talk about a fabulous, well-rounded life!

Amber Lynae said...

I have a wide range of musical taste. I hope that Little princess will have the same since I listen to it hopefully she will love it too.

Melanie Jacobson said...

Yeah, my son's iPod shuffle makes me shiver with pride. I don't think he could name a single song from the pop radio station but he knows EVERYTHING that comes on the classic rock station. The kid is TEN and he loves RUSH. RUSH. How funny is that?


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