There are many things that "the boys" over at DadCentric have in common. We all love our kids. We're all involved fathers. And we all try to maintain a sense of humor about parenting. But another thing that seems to bind us together is our love of music. Whether it's Chris strumming baby songs to Mia on his guitar, Jason making playlists for Lucas or Peter talking about his earliest musical memories, it's clear that we all share a passion and love of music that we want to pass onto our sons and daughters.
Personally, I love playing my music for the Peanut, my lovely 13-month-old-daughter. She loves it when I sing Morrissey tunes or hum The Killers to her. And when BossLady is making up silly songs and singing them into her stomach, the Peanut absolutely shrieks in laughter. Of course, to her, it's just melodic noise and she's happy because she's having fun playing with mommy and daddy.
But the other day, we put on the "Free to Be You and Me" DVD for her to watch. And though the Peanut was more interested in her bottle at the time, BossLady and I were absolutely in rapture watching it. A flood of memories engulfed us both and we sat in amazement as we realized that we still remembered all the words to the songs. Sitting together, we sang along with Marlo Thomas and Harry Belafonte performing "Parents are People." Cradling the Peanut, we joined Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack on "When We Grow Up." And who could ever forget "Helping" by Tom Smothers?
But not only did we remember the words but we also came to realize how important of a role the album played in our lives. Thinking about it wistfully almost brings a tear to my eye.
It's easy to look back at this record as a dippy, feel-good paean to the sensitivities of the 70's. Using poetry, songs, and sketches, the basic concept of the album and TV show was to salute being oneself; the thematic message was: you, whether you are a boy or a girl, can achieve anything you want. Maybe it's because this issue strikes such a chord with me now that I have my own child or maybe because this album is like a cult classic to me, but watching it now is an absolutely incredible feeling. It's so optimistic and uplifting in its goal to teach children valuable lessons through music. It's really what kid music should be all about.
And though I'm going to continue to play my music for the Peanut and though I'm sure we're going to be listening to The Wiggles soon enough, I'm going to recommend to all of you to dust off your old copies or to buy the DVD for "Free to Be You and Me."
Because sharing YOUR childhood with your son or daughter is a trip down memory lane that I think you'll all truly enjoy.