Parenting Under A Lady Gaga Influence


I'm driving the kids around this weekend and Lady Gaga's song Applause comes on.  Both kids know every word of the catchy chorus, but my son sings the lyrics with particular gusto...

"I live for the applause, applause, applause I live for the applause-plause Live for the applause-plause Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me. The applause, applause, applause..."

If you're like me, the first thing you think is, "WHO lets their children listen to Lady Gaga??" Oh.  Right. Ahem...

My daughter interrupts my self-flagellation with her own commentary.

"Mom, isn't this a sad song? Lady Gaga says she lives for applause. Isn't that a terrible thing to live for? I mean, what's the point in a life like that? Do you think she REALLY feels that way?"

What was I hearing?

Was it possible my 10-year-old could see the shallowness of fame?  I was initially caught off guard and couldn't give her more than, "Um, I don't know, maybe that's what she lives for..."

My daughter had a few more thoughts in her head, so I was able to recover enough to give her additional questions to ponder.

Why do we need others to like us? Is adoration a bad thing?  Should it be our ULTIMATE thing?

I was on a roll now!

Let's dig deep in the meaning of life! Let's cover "purpose" and the danger of needing approval.  Let's talk about the lies of marketing and the fickle nature of the crowd...

Unfortunately, as 5th graders are apt to do, she was bored with the topic and closed with a consolation prize, "Well, at least it's a catchy tune."

Isn't that just how parenting goes?

There's a short sliver of time where you can make a connection and then it's gone.  Still, from a practical perspective, the exchange felt like a "win" because,

#1 - I was present. I wasn't on the phone or otherwise distracted (which is far from a "given"). #2 - The conversation was mostly centered around my daughter's insight, not my reaching for a teachable moment.

Maybe that doesn't sound like much to you, but it's huge for me.

I find my parenting skills need to shift from "Protection Mode" (Keep kids safe at all costs!) to "Preparation Mode"  (Here's how you navigate a dangerous world!). When I glimpse my daughter's thinking and it aligns with the lessons we've covered, I am encouraged to keep up the conversations on every topic, even if it's about Lady Gaga.

Sure, some would say I SHOULD apply better media filters (and they'd probably be right), but the shift from protect to prepare is tricky no matter when you make transition; you might as well talk through things early and often.

That said, there's nothing like developing some appreciation for classical music!

(Note - photo is from TS concert, I didn't have LG in my photo stock; you only need the initials, right? )