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.