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Entries in television (2)

Thursday
Feb172011

Two Families, the Beatles and a Rabbit Named Paul

I am over the moon to welcome a new guest columnist to Go West Young Mom. He’s Don Babwin, a former co-worker of mine, and he’ll occasionally be contributing stories here. I’ve read the following piece at least 10 times and it leaves me misty-eyed every single time. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll love it. But no matter what your musical tastes, this essay will make you ponder what warm family memories your children will treasure long after you are gone. -- Tara

It was my father who came home with the news that we would not be watching the second half of “Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday night. Instead, he announced, some of his buddies at the sheriff's office said there was something on “The Ed Sullivan Show” we just had to see. And he promised my brothers and I would like it.

The author with his father, Ed Babwin, in the summer of 1957.We'd seen Topo Gigio, Senor Wences and Robert Goulet too many times to think there was anything that would justify turning the channel a half-hour into Disney, but both he and my mother insisted. 

Nearly a half-century later I remember our family sitting in front of the black-and-white TV watching in disbelief what was unfolding in front of us. It wasn't just that we couldn't believe what we were seeing. It was that it made us – all of us – so happy. Two years later my father would die of cancer and three years after that my older brother would leave home for college, beginning the kind of splintering all families go through. But on that night, we were all together. We were a family. We were watching the Beatles.

Now it is happening again. Not in a living room, but in a car. Late last year, my wife decided we'd been trapped long enough in the car with the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, Demi Lovato and the cast of “High School Musical,” that something had to be done to regain control of the radio and CD player from our 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. Just drawing the line at singing chipmunks was no longer enough.

So she put in the CD player the Beatles' greatest hits, the one with every one of their songs that reached No. 1 on the charts, from "'Love Me Do" to the "Long and Winding Road."

And they liked it. Not all of it, of course. "Yesterday" was too slow for my son. But soon, they were asking for their favorites, my daughter requesting "Yellow Submarine" over and over and my son insisting on "The Ballad of John and Yoko," and then belting out "Christ, you know it ain't easy," along with John.

This was a huge deal. And not just because it meant we didn't have to listen to the "Camp Rock" soundtrack. My wife and I were older when we had our daughter – she was 40 and I was closing in on 50 – so we were big enough fans of the Beatles to count the night John Lennon was killed as one of those you-know-exactly-where-you-are-when-you-heard-the-news moments.

But for me, there was more. The Beatles aren't just part of history, they are, starting with that night in 1964, a chapter of my family's history.

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Disrespect and the Disney Channel

The following guest column by Amy Hatch first appeared on one of my favorite sites, chambanamoms.com, where Hatch is the co-editor. Her daughter Emmie is 6. -- Tara

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the now-notorious essay in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”

The Magic Kingdom has a snarky underside. Photo by dawnzy58 on Flickr.Chua asserts that her hard-line parenting style is just the antidote the West needs, even when her own husband objects.

I’m not going to critique Chua’s point of view — which we’ll all be able to read about in her just-released book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” — because better thinkers than I have already tackled that.

In fact, one of the responses to Chua’s excerpt is what inspired me. Lisa Belkin of The New York Times’ “Motherlode” blog posits that Chau’s publisher is “…banking on her message finding wide resonance among American moms worn out from trying to do everything right for kids who mimic Disney Channel-style disrespect for parents, spend hours a day on Facebook, pick at their lovingly prepared food and generally won’t get with the program.”

While I don’t necessarily agree that modern mothers are searching for the magic forumla for dealing with their media-saturated brats, I do agree with this: “Kids who mimic Disney Channel-style disrespect for parents.”

Can I get an amen?

There was a brief period when Emmie was allowed to watch some of the tweener shows that pass for programming on the Disney Channel.

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