A few years back, our family went to the movies. My wife and daughter wanted to see something that was a tad too girly for us guys. So, my son and I went to see Dinner for Schmucks with Steve Carell. It was was rated PG-13, and he was twelve.
I didn’t know anything about the film. Since the outing was a last minute decision, I did no homework on the film’s content. Turns out, this wasn’t exactly the best film for a twelve year-old. Oops. Thankfully, some of the worst stuff was over his head. (At least that what I tell myself).
Ahh, but I have failed much worse. You know how sometimes a child can say something that rips out your heart? I’m not talking about the “I hate you. You’re the worst parents ever.” Sure, that stings, but it usually involves you putting the foot down on something very wrong or dangerous for which they’ll thank you twenty years later.
No, I’m talking about something much worse – crushing words that wound so deep your whole parenting philosophies are called into question. I’ll just lay it out right here. Recently, my son told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd sucks and “Freebird” was a terrible song. I was mortified. I thought, “This is the big one, Elizabeth!” Where had I gone wrong? I then realized he really has no appreciation for great classic rock.
Unfortunately, he loves country music. I blame Garth Brooks. After all, we saw Garth in concert while my wife was pregnant with him. Obviously, he was influenced early on. Later, I even remember thinking how funny it was for him, as a two year-old, to be singing along to Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me”. Maybe I share the blame with Garth.
The 5 Step Plan
So how do I correct this? I’m not really sure with him. Sometimes, you just have to accept your failure and move on. What I can do, though, is try to make sure my second child, the six years younger daughter, has a better understanding of the greats of classic rock.
Here’s my plan so far.
Step 1 – Teach her to identify classic rock groups on the radio.
I started with Queen. She needs to understand the greatness of Freddie Mercury. Fortunately, the local radio station we listen to most, which is not a classic rock station, actually plays an occasional Queen song. When one of their songs comes on, I’ll ask her “Who’s this?” At first she couldn’t remember the name. Eventually, she caught on. “Queen,” she’ll now say unenthusiastically.
“Whose the lead singer?” I’ll throw in for bonus points. She finally learned to remember both Queen and Freddie Mercury.
Lately, I’ve expanded and added Van Halen to the quiz list. Her default answer is still Queen, but it’s a start.
With teaching her to recognize Van Halen, there’s the added twist of recognizing which lead singer. She’s not doing too well. At least she can remember Sammy Hagar’s name. She has trouble remembering David Lee Roth. Thankfully, no one EVER plays any Van Halen III with Gary Cherone.
She also needs to be able to identify one Sammy solo song – “I Can’t Drive 55”. It’s not my favorite Sammy song, but it probably gets the most air play. To my son’s credit, he does know this one.
Step 2 – Teach her the rules of the radio (At at least MY rules)
Rule 1. Certain songs are must change the station songs.
These are songs that we refuse to hear. The station must be changed immediately. The two main fails we have focused on so far are “Can’t Fight this Feeling” by REO Speedwagon and “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. To read more about my disdain for Can’t Fight this Feeling, click here to read an old old post about it: http://keyofgf.com/2012/07/13/faithfully-vs-feeling/
Rule 2. Certain bands are never change the station bands. If you’re channel surfing and come across a song by these groups, you HAVE to stay on that station. So far we’ve concentrated on Boston.
Step 3 – Teach her to appreciate long live versions of songs
Haven’t really started on this one yet. The ultimate goal is to develop her appreciation for the 14 minute live version of “Freebird”. I’ll have to start with some shorter tracks. Maybe something from Frampton Comes Alive?
Step 4 – Bribe her guitar teacher
She is taking guitar lessons. Acoustic guitar, but that’s OK for now. I know one week she and the teacher discussed the chords for “Sweet Home Alabama”. I need to make sure there’s more of these type discussions in the future.
I actually watched this one with my son. The lesson didn’t take for him, but it is worth trying again.
There you have it. Some classic rock appreciation steps you can copy. It’s a work in progress, and I’ve got my work cut out for me. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.
It’s a long way to the top, if you want to rock n roll.