Watched the Grammys last night with the kids. I have to tell you, it’s something I recommend every dad does. There must have been no fewer than 2,582 teaching opportunities throughout the evening. From Beyonce’s opening “performance” to the Metallica / Lang Lang mashup, to Paul Williams being on stage with Daft Punk, there were countless opportunities to talk about everything from the objectification of women in media to musical influences through the decades. But probably the most important thing about the evening was that it was an opportunity for us to learn a little more about each other as well. When I asked my daughter if she knew who the woman singing with Sara Bareilles was, she replied, “NO idea dad.” I promise you that my daughter will be listening to Tapestry tomorrow. She’ll also be receiving a refresher course in Beatles history as well as a copy of Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee.
Meanwhile I’m going to be taking a moment to listen to some of the artists she was screaming for (and I do mean screaming) last night. She often tries to get me to listen to things and all too often I shrug my shoulders. Last night reminded me that I need to make more of an effort to stop and listen because she’s doing more than just asking me to listen to a song, she’s opening a door to her world and who she is. She’s looking for acceptance from me. Music is such a great means of connecting with each other and learning about each other. I personally thought last night’s broadcast brought to light how important it is that we as generations listen to each other and recognize we both have a lot to bring to the table.
So take a look at the the winners from last night’s show. I think you’ll be surprised to see artists like Led Zeppelin and Edie Brickell (with Steve Martin) on there. But also take note of some of the newbies like Macklemore, Rianna, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves and make a point of sitting down and actually listening to their music.
There are a lot of great clues about our youth woven within the songs. Clues that will help you understand your kid’s world a bit more. But you have to be willing to listen without judgement. You’ll like some things and be shocked by others. But just think what it would have been like if your parents would have taken the time to listen to Break on Through, Dust in the Wind, Another Brick in the Wall or A World Without Love when you were a kid. All mine ever did was tell me to “Turn that noise down!”
The next time your son or daughter says, “Hey dad! listen to this!” Don’t say things like, “That’s not music,” or “That’s just noise.” Because what they’re hearing is, “What you like is stupid,” “You have horrible taste,” “You’re wasting my time.” Instead take it as an opportunity to spend ten or fifteen minutes learning about each other and connecting on a level most parents would kill for. Watching a three-and-a-half hour awards special with them, was quite frankly, priceless.