GateHouse — It’s a static, shatterproof rule of parenting that, purely through nature and momentum, you will endeavor to pass on to your children your own interests and activities, either by grand design or subconscious manipulation, and yes I am looking at you, Couple Who Brought Your Four Grade-School Children To The Van Halen Concert In 2005, Seriously, That’s Shockingly Irresponsible, Mostly Because It Was A Hagar Tour, I Mean Roth I Can Justify, But The “Dreams” Guy Really What Are You Thinking? (I might also mention you, Juggalo Parent Nation.)
It follows then that there’s an equally static, shatterproof rule that there will be things you reflexively shield your kids from, strive to help them avoid at all costs, such as ignorance or prejudice, or badminton, or country music. Ha! I’m just kidding, of course. Badminton’s not that bad.
For instance, my son to this day has no idea that Radio Disney exists; not because I don’t think he’d enjoy it, but because like many six-year-olds he is quick to adopt MANIACAL OBSESSIONS regarding media absorption, and frankly the vaguest possibility of having to listen to Radio Disney even in the briefest, three-minute squirts made me begin dreaming up ways to remove my eyes with a potato peeler, so, long story short, my son’s world is a glorious Jonas-free wonderland, and this is how it shall remain.
But the thing is, I say that now, and I can have the best intentions, but at some point you have to release your child into the world, which is full of friends and stores and outside influences and classmates with Radio Disney backpacks. And when that happens, things begin spiraling faster and faster and time speeds up and up and before long you lose your grip on whatever thin filaments of control you might have hoped to have and then you find yourself watching a NASCAR race on a Sunday afternoon because your son — who, according to our earlier law, is supposed to be into Springsteen, running, “Weird Al” Yankovic and maintaining the rigidly beautiful organization of his iTunes library — is turning into a surprisingly knowledgeable juicebox-downing NASCAR fan. It is likely too late to change his name to Darrell, but don’t think I haven’t thought about it.