Monday, February 26, 2007

Respecting The Dignity Of Youth

Jen forwarded me a recent David Brooks editorial for the NYT. The title alone, Moshpit Meets Sandbox, was enough to pique my interest. Brooks basically laments that there is a generation of 'hipster' parents forcing their own styles and interest on their children and preventing them from being, well, kids. The result, in broadstrokes, is children wearing camo and ponchos and snarky t-shirts that say things like, 'anarchy in the pre-K' or some other such nonesense and listening to Brian Eno and Radiohead. Brooks argues that the supposed non-conformist parents are creating miniature reproductions of their hipper-than-thou selves. The editorial is funny and worth reading and I would link to it but you have to subscribe to the NYT. You can find the article reprinted all over the internet by doing a quick google search with Brooks' name and the title.

I disagree with much of what Brooks has to say about this supposed 'style' of parenting and how it makes your 'average suburban cul de sac look like Renaissance Florence', but I can see his point. I think the confusion is in the fact that more people are making the decision to move with their families to the city - and, thus, you see a push to a more urban (and often this is equated with a 'hipster') lifestyle. Brooks struck a chord with me on a few things. For example, I have had a certain smug sense of nonconformity each time I put La Luz in a smocked dress. Not many children wear smocked dresses these days (but is it our fault if 'cool' kids clothes are more accessible than any of the others). I happen to be the ONLY person I know who has an aunt who knows how to and enjoys making beautiful dresses. Without that resource, I would be left scratching my head, wondering if it was really appropriate for a toddler to wear black leggings or trying to figure out how an 18 month old is supposed to wear a shrug. Interestingly enough, I think Christian is the one who is guilty of forcing his hipster trends on a poor, unsuspecting baby. He is a fan of the longsleeve shirt underneath the shortsleeve shirt and even moreso when it says the Decembrists on it. The last time he dressed her (Friday) she had it on:

I am just saying...

We are all guilty of allowing La Luz to listen to the bands we love. She attended more concerts in utero than I have been to since she was born. Maybe that makes me guilty of imposing the 'hipster' lifestyle on her before she even had a say-so. I joke about it but certainly draw the line at bringing her to concerts now (unless it is a festival outside - that is completely acceptable and important for her development). Notwithstanding the fact that I am convinced La Luz already has impeccable music taste and likes all of my favorite bands in particular, I promise it is not to the exclusion of countless hours of terrible children's songs that make me want to pull my fingernails off, one by one.

1 comment:

Christian said...

It is nice to see to see David Brooks finally has something to whine about instead of whiny liberals. I grew up listening to what my parents listened to, you grew up listening to the Moody Blues, Beatles, etc. I read the article he never actually says how any of this is bad. When Lucy is old enough to say she wants her Dora shirt instead of the Decemberists shirt I will let her personality shine. For now she gets the D's, wears cool Tshirts, she listens to Radiohead and eats hummus and sushi.