On my way into work tonight, I was lis­ten­ing to the Jason & Alex­is “replay” on MyTalk107.1.

They start­ed a dis­cus­sion on the new Miley Cyrus video and how “mature” it was, and if its real­ly appro­pri­ate for her pre-teen and under audi­ence. They had par­ents call­ing in with their view on the subject…and it got me think­ing, as a par­ent, where do I stand on the issue…

First, I under­stand where the artist is com­ing from. As an artist, espe­cial­ly one whose main audi­ence is pre-teens…there comes a point where you need to start to address more “mature” sub­ject mat­ter in your songs. Its the only way to grow as an artist in the main­stream and be relevant.

I mean, think about it…it would be creepy if a 45 year old Miley Cyrus was still singing about middle/high school…or cater­ing to that audience….eventually she needs to grow into a more mature audience.

So, I get that and under­stand it…and to be on the oth­er side, even­tu­al­ly the kids who lis­ten to her music, will grow up and start address­ing those same “mature” sub­jects as well. Its inevitable.

So, I don’t freak out about that too much.

But on the flip-side, as a par­ent, I do real­ize that I have cer­tain respon­si­bil­i­ties to my children.

First off, it’s my job to set some bound­aries for them, until they are able to estab­lish their own. But, I have bound­aries of my own as a par­ent as well.

Its not my job to “force” my opin­ions or beliefs, or my opin­ions of what is “right” and “wrong”. Rather, it is my job as their par­ent to help them to form their own moral com­pass and their own beliefs of what is right and wrong.

Now, don’t mis­un­der­stand me and start com­ment­ing with things like, “so if your kids think its okay to kill some­one, your okay with that?” No…obviously I’m not okay with that.

My hope is that by guid­ing and help­ing them to form their own moral code, that they’ll pick­up a base­line of what is “absolute­ly right” and “absolute­ly wrong”…its some of that gray in the mid­dle that they need to devel­op on their own–with my help. Those gray issues can be many things (and maybe gray isn’t the right word) but items like: racism, human rights, how to treat the envi­ron­ment, music to lis­ten to, what to read, how to treat your friends, etc. It can be many, many things, from large issues to small ones too.

Now, my hope would be that their moral com­pass points in the same gen­er­al direc­tion mine does, but its okay with me if their opin­ions dif­fer, and to be hon­est, I hope they do (a lit­tle…). What’s the point in liv­ing in a world where every­one thinks the same thing?

If my chil­dren grow to have dif­fer­ent opin­ions on sub­ject mat­ters, that does­n’t make me love them any less nor does it make me feel dis­ap­point­ed in them. Rather it shows me that I have raised an “indi­vid­ual”, some­one who was giv­en a sol­id foun­da­tion to build their own home on.

But I can set bound­aries, and I can say things like, “I don’t feel that your ready to read this book yet or lis­ten to this music until I feel your ready to ful­ly under­stand what the item is talk­ing about.”

But at the same time, I can’t expect to tell them, “You can nev­er read this book, or lis­ten to this music!”  That only gives them the ammo to sneak around and do exact­ly the oppo­site. Instead I need to present it in a way that shows that I am open to them inter­act­ing with that item lat­er on when their ready.

I also need to real­ize that, as a par­ent, their going to expe­ri­ence things through friends or oth­ers that I can’t con­trol, but I can try and have an open dia­logue with them and pre­pare them for that and sit down with them, and talk about it and hope­ful­ly impress upon them why I don’t think they’re ready for it and why I would pre­fer they lis­ten to it (or read it) with my wife or I there, so that we can dis­cuss it, answer ques­tions on things they don’t under­stand and clar­i­fy any­thing for them. As well as talk about why we feel its wrong or right. Again, back to help­ing them build their foun­da­tion. If they were to read it on their own, or lis­ten to some­thing with a friend, they may not get the answers they need to under­stand it, and instead base their own deci­sions on inac­cu­rate information.

I have always felt that com­mu­ni­ca­tion is a very impor­tant key in any kind of rela­tion­ship. Between hus­band and wife, par­ent and child and even between sib­lings (some­thing, that my kids need to work on sometimes).

(Update: I go back and re-read this, and I think there are some parts where I wan­der away from the main goal of what I am try­ing to say….it all makes sense in my head…but try­ing to trans­late what goes on in my brain, in actu­al words…I think some­thing gets lost in the translation…so for­give me if some parts don’t quite make sense.)

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