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Do We Really Want Our Youth Listening to This?

Are the lyrics of a popular song contributing to the morale decline and debased behavior of youth in Northfield and beyond?

Last weekend my family and I drove down to Saint Paul for the MN High School Hockey Tournament festivities.  I grew up in MN and have played hockey my entire life.  The weekend of the state tournament is one of the highlights of the year for me, and each year it gets more and more enjoyable as my children enter into the excitement of it all.

One tradition we have is visiting the Hockey Expo.  At the Expo hundreds of vendors set up booths showing off the latest and greatest equipment.  They also have loads of giveaways and freebies that the kids enjoy filling their bags with.  In addition to all this there are opportunities to shoot pucks, stick handle, play around on fake ice, and do all kinds of other hand-on activities.  The entire thing is free and it's a great time.

The only blemish on the event was a song that I heard blaring from one of the vendor booths.  I was at a stick-handling exhibit and a popular song was being played very loudly right next to my kids and I.  The lyrics to the chorus are:

So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how its supposed to be
Living young and wild and free

My wife and I were blown away that such a song would be playing in an auditorium filled with high school kids and families.  Luckily we made it out without having to explain to our kids what it means to get drunk and smoke weed. But the whole experience has been weighing on my mind since.  I heard the song on local radio last night and couldn't help but think:

Is there any wonder why our kids in Northfield and other communities are having so much trouble when the lessons popular media gives them is that being young is all about getting drunk, doing drugs, and acting young, wild and free!

My wife is a teacher and I hear stories all the time about interactions teachers have with students who have taken the message of wild and free to heart.  

Our society has become such a moral mudhole that I'm not surprised by the way things are; it just makes me sad.  The teenage years that are supposed to be preparing kids for adulthood are being ruined by TV and music and other messages (condoned by absent, ignorant, naive, or permissive parents) that tell them life is all about them and their present pursuit of pleasure. 

I'm interested to know if you think I'm off base.  Do you think I should be less concerned that our middle school and high school kids are having the gospel truth of Wiz Khalifa (lyrics to entire song mentioned above) drilled into their heads?

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Angela Lauterbach March 20, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Well, I don't think you are "completely off-base" but I do think you should listen to regular radio more often. Most music extolls the virtue and light to be had by embracing some extent of escapism-including the Beach Boy's "Kocamo". My guess is "That dreamy look in your eye" actually references a drunken gaze. My point is that alcohol, drugs and whatever other methods one can find escapist tactics within are in music and movies and television ad-nauseum. The influence that matters here is found in those adults and peer-based role models that have found and can provide applicable forms of escape from life's mundane and rediculous details that is somewhat fulfilling without being harmful to the body or the future of the person seeking said break from said boredom and frustration. Teach each other how to tolerate life and how to endure. Then teach your children what works so they can teach each other. Most kids would tell you that just because Kelly and Jay Z say it's the coolest thing in the world doesn't mean they will agree or even that they will follow with latent compliance like robots. Have faith, as I see you do, and lead strongly.
Myrna CG Mibus March 20, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I do agree that song lyrics can be disturbing. I also think it's worth pointing out that songs have had "bad" things in them for hundreds of years. Some of my favorite tunes are old folk songs that, like modern music, have catchy tunes but story lines and language in them that are surprising to say the least! Like you, I've heard "bad" songs with my kids around. But, instead of feeling lucky that I don't have to explain what the songs are talking about, my husband and I feel lucky the songs give us an opening to talk to our kids about things like drinking and drugs, in an age appropriate way, of course, and in a way that reflects our values.
Mike Carlier March 20, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Congratulations on your ability to digest the entire content of any popular song. Since my teen years and on to my current boomer immaturity, I have always found it difficult to identify the majority of the lyrics to a song. Again, I applaud your perceptive skills. You describe the song as a popular song. If that means what I think, it is a song enjoyed by a significant portion of the population. That is probably the reason it was chosen to be played by the vendor. Somehow, you managed to capture the entire lyrics to the song while enjoying the hockey expo, which seems to me the mission of someone looking for something to criticize. Congratulations on your astute observation and on your excellent aim while casting the first stone. You didn't indicate the ages of your children, but it's hard to imagine that they are either too young to care, or they are old enough to know what it means to get drunk and smoke weed. I'm sorry that you are so negative toward our society, and I disagree with your characterization of it as a "moral mudhole."

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