A guide to talking to your kids about the Super Bowl halftime show
How to talk to your kids about things you don't understand or that make you uncomfortable.
I wasn't even going to talk about this because I don't watch the Super Bowl and the annual pearl clutching and hypocrisy about the halftime show always makes me weary. But I read something on Facebook was very much in the vein of Parenting the Glimmering Way, so I wanted to share it.
This sample conversation comes from Jamie Kern, on Facebook. I don't know Jamie, but I appreciate the work she did here.
Little Timmy: “Why are those ladies wearing so little clothes?”
Parent: “Well Timmy, those are dance costumes and traditionally dance costumes are more like bathing suits than regular clothes. Part of dance is seeing all the ways a gifted dancer can move their body. Let’s look at some pictures of ballet dancers so you can see how they’re not all that different. These just have a lot more sparkle to them. Isn’t that cool?!
Little Suzie: “Why are those ladies dancing so sexy?”
Parent: “Well Suzie...
These sample conversations keep going and cover quite a bit of ground. They are a good example of the kind of relationship we try to build with our kids and their inquisitiveness.
Anyway, what I want you to take away from all of this is that the best parenting is that which invites curiosity and intelligent conversation.
When you disparage things you don't understand or that make you uncomfortable, you're teaching your kid that you're not a safe person to talk to about anything outside of your experience or comfort zone. You're teaching your kid that you're going to disparage them if they don't fit into your tidy little idea of what's Okay.
And yes, even how you talk about - or avoid talking about - something as superficial as the Super Bowl halftime show is going to influence your children's trust in you. They're watching your every move.
Also? If you aren't talking explicitly about your values, your kids are going to make a lot of assumptions and go along with the dominant culture they encounter out in their worlds. Avoiding difficult subjects is a very efficient way to raise racist, bigoted humans.
If you love your children and want them to love and trust you with their hearts forever, and if you want them to be #BetterHumans, teach them by example to engage their worlds with curiosity and open-mindedness, and talk to them explicitly about how bias, prejudice, and bigotry sneak into our thoughts and actions.
Here's a link to the full halftime show, put on by Shakira and J.Lo. Also, here's Your Explainer of All the Middle Eastern Stuff Shakira Did During the Super Bowl Halftime Show. And the serious political commentary you might have missed. Romper has a great article about "Uncomfortable" White Women & What's Hiding in Plain Sight. I encourage you to read it.
(Post image is from Getty images.)