Monday, April 10, 2006

Random Thoughts on Children, Religion, & Rock and Roll

Anderson Cooper actually covered political news tonight! The totally depressing story about how our psychotic President and his nut job administration are apparently considering bombing Iran. I actually tuned into Mr. Cooper's sort of miserable news program in the hopes that he might actually, for a few seconds at least, cover that story because I couldn't seem to get much other news on it.

My children actually let me watch part of the NewsHour this evening after we had a dance party with Mommy's iPod. Edith was not thrilled with the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started" (OK, it was the cleanest song of theirs with a beat I could play for her--I cannot believe how much Verizon was able to clean up "My Humps" for that ad)--she said it wasn't a rock and roll song, so she didn't like it. So I played "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin, which she liked better, and she showed me her guitar moves (I'm really starting to wonder about this child, because I don't teach her these things). Then we listened to the Talking Heads' "Take Me to the River," which she only tolerated because I told her it was Mommy's college dance music. She was intrigued by what I billed as the greatest punk rock song of all time, the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (which Roger calls the greatest existential song of all time), partly because she didn't know what 'punk' meant and it sounded like a cool word. I also told her that with punk rock music you could dance by hopping around and stomping a lot, which pretty much sold her on it. I tried to teach her the words, but don't know if I made any progress.

So, this is my mothering style. My six year old daughter is already a hard rock fanatic with a clearly defined sense of what a rock song is--I told her, really, you should learn to like funk and techno dance music because it will broaden your musical horizons. Edith's favorite 'rock' songs, by the way, are: "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive, "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and "American Pie" by Don MacLean.

The reality of this situation is, I've been wondering if it's possible to raise an ethical child without exposing them to religious principles. OK, I'm asking you all to make a huge tonal and epistemological shift here with me, but make an effort. Roger and I keep talking about joining a synagogue, but we haven't found one that we really like and feel comfortable in. They're either not ones that would accept me (a non-Jew), or they're not intellectual enough, or they're too bourgeois, or they're too Jewish (for Roger, not for me), or they have some other failing. In the meantime, we continue to have Shabbat on Friday nights (not always with the kids), celebrate Passover, and pay big bucks to attend High Holiday services at some service at which we aren't members. I think I may finally have convinced Edith that she is Jewish. She only asked once this year why we don't celebrate Easter, and I managed to convince her that it should just say 'egg hunt' on her birthday invitation instead of 'Easter egg hunt'.

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