We had traveled over the border when I realized that the DVDs that I had purchased for the kids to watch on our 12 + hour drive were sitting on my bed. It was going to be a very long drive to Virginia Beach! It was time for an emergency Target stop.
I gathered the cheap movies that I thought the kids would watch in my arms, fearful that they would not be "good enough". I was searching titles when I came across the first season of Gilligan's Island for $10.00. As a child I LOVED Gilligan's Island. I even had a crush on the professor. I would rush through the door after school to watch Gilligan's latest silliness. It was already an old show when I began watching it, but it was not "old", it was still funny. The DVD made it into my pile.
It was not too far down the road that I slipped in the first disc. It was met with some resistance, especially from Grace. "You know this is black and white right Mom? Oh this looks stupid!" Oh no I thought, it's going to be a long ride filled with fighting over which DVD to watch first. It was soon after I began to hear the first giggles. "Oh no the Captain's squishing him" was howled. Still Grace resisted, the glow of her ipod hovering in the back seat, she was too cool for such stupidity. By the third episode there were four different and distinct howls of laughter floating up from the back seat. Forgotten was the fact that this "old" show was in black and white, the slap stick comedy far out weighted it. I smiled.
For all the new flashy shows, the reality tv so cheaply made, the high definition screens, this old grainy black and white television show from the 1960's, before I was even a glimmer in my father's eye was holding my children's attention. It was not only "holding their attention", it was demanding it. I thought that they may have been bored by Gilligan by the third disc, but it was Grace who was begging for more. For that most briefest moment my children those children held hostage by the new electronic gadgets were sharing my childhood. We were sharing in that moment of childhood, and it was nostalgic and beautiful.
I had that moment, you know that moment when the world seems crystal clear. It was in that moment that I realized that perhaps as adults we are all too quick to shout out our disgust at children's reliance upon technology. Maybe it's just laziness on our parts. It's too easy to allow them them to become obsessed and distracted by their gadgets. It's too easy to blame their lack of willingness to participate in real life on "this new technological society", instead of accepting the blame. It's too easy to allow them to entertain themselves with bright flashy gadgets. It's too easy and I admit to being just as guilty of the laziness. It's too easy to allow them to take the easy route than to try something new that is really something old. It's easier to listen to their shouts of "no", than to push the issue. I have discovered that when I persevere and demand that they at least give things a chance, they usually like it. If they don't like it, then I at least know that they have given it an honest try. I am their parent, it's my job to expand their world, to open their minds to all of the possibilities. This sounds like a silly thing to say of Gilligan's Island, but Gilligan's Island is only a small piece of that puzzle. I introduced them to something new, something that they didn't think that they would like, and ended up loving. I persevered, and feel all the better for it. Being a good parent isn't about taking the easy way (although admittedly sometimes we all deserve a break and can opt for easy), it's about being a parent, a role model for your kids. It's about helping them become the best person/ adult that they can be. It's listening to who they are and what they like, but encouraging them to take risks, even if that risk is something so seemingly small as watching an old black and white silly television show. In the end it's not about the television show, it's about encouraging them to step out of their box, to think with a bigger mind.
I fought the battle of the Gilligan's Island, and came out victorious! Now to introduce them to the Six Million Dollar Man, or maybe the Beverly Hillbillies....