I don't think I am doing my sons a disservice by giving them a well-rounded education in rock 'n roll (as if anybody under the age of 35 even uses that term anymore). They've been reared on a healthy diet of the Clash, the Who, David Bowie, the Supersuckers and the Stooges, among many other contemporary and classic rockers.
My wife's big concern is that as they enter school age, particularly my oldest, that they might be a bit behind the proverbial 8-ball. As all the other kids sing "the itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout..." my son will instead be singing
"He's come to a sticky end
Don't think he will ever mend
Never more will he crawl 'round
He's embedded in the ground"
My contention is that there is very little to gain by exposing kids to countless hours of Barney, the Wiggles and their sort. I'd just assume have my boys listening to and watching genuine musicians playing genuine heartfelt music. The problem is that my theory is fraught with its share of ancillary problems.
My mother passed away about five years ago; therefore my boys make frequent visits to the cemetery. Last year, my oldest began to suspect something was 'up' when he went to visit his abuela at the masoleum. He wondered why she never came down to see him. What followed was the best explanation I could provide a then three year-old. "She's up there with god." After crying with him as he shouted that he wanted to go up there to get her, we both came home. I was glad that he cared enough about the wonderful woman he never met to want to venture up to the sky to get her.
Since then, I have had to skirt the concept of death with him on various occasions. I had to explain to him that he could not see the Clash in concert because Joe Strummer lives up there with Abuela. That didn't go over too well, but at least he didn't cry. Then there was Keith Moon. After watching The Kids are Alright with him a dozen or so times, Keith became his hero. During dinner, I would coax him into taking bites by saying "Show me how Keith Moon eats," and he would scarf down his mac & cheese. Again, I had to break it to him that, alas, Keith's mailing address was the same as Abuela's.
The final breakdown came when I bought him the T. Rex video Born to Boogie,. He wanted to go see T-Rex in concert, and again, I was dumb enough to mention that it would be impossible, because Marc Bolan is "up there." As I calmed him down, I resolved never to mention his favorite rock stars are d-e-a-d. If he wants to see the Ramones, I'll tell him we'll wait until they come to town. Joy Division? Maybe the next tour... Hell, he didn't get around to asking about Bon Scott, but I sure as f*** wasn't going to be the one to tell him.
As he gobbled up his macaroni and cheese, he turned to me and said "Daddy, I want to drink like Keith Moon, too."
Buddy, maybe that's not such a good idea. Today, we toast milk and cookies to Mr. Moon, on his birthday, my mom, and everyone else 'up there.' In the meantime, I've been commisioned to design a 'super-cape' so that my son can fly up there to get them down. I hope it works, and they can all get down safely.