October 11, 2009

A change of heart

When Hannah Jane was born (maybe even before that) I was sure that no child of mine would ever be decked out in corporate movie characters. That means no Elmo dolls, no Disney clothes or wallpaper. Nope. Not for my kids. Add to that list plastic toys and mindless cartoons as well. I wouldn't have corporate America influencing my children covertly through beautiful princesses and lovable little furry animals.

To a large degree I am still wary of corporate America. We don't have TV; only pre-screened DVDs. If we're listening to the radio, it goes off during commercial breaks. On the occasion that the kids do see a commercial at a friend's house or something, we have a conversation about it and how it is someone's jobs to study the human brain and decide how to make you think you want or need something that you didn't even know existed 10 minutes before.

But on the character side of things, I suppose I have had a slow change of heart. It began with books. I found a great deal on used books at a thrift store back in Oregon and thought there was something far less sinister about books than movies, so I let Hannah Jane pick out a few Disney books based on the big silver screen hits. She loved them. Soon we went back for more. Before you know it, we had every book ever published by Disney. Then I'm shopping for clothes and her face lights up. "There's a shirt with the girl from my favorite book on it!" And I think, how great that she loves her books so much! It's the same price as the plain shirt and it sort of supports her early literacy skills to nurture her love of this book, right? And before you know it, she has every toy, shirt, and watch that goes along with her "book collection."

Then we're at a cabin with my dad for the weekend that has an extensive VHS collection and as she is thumbing through the movie boxes she spots Beauty and the Beast. "What?!?! They made a movie of my favorite book? Can I watch it? Please?" And of course we allow it. Well, it's all downhill from there. "What other books have they made movies from?" And I reason out that I allowed her to watch Pollyanna after we read the book. The same with Anne of Green Gables. How is that different? Just because it's corporate Disney?

Then came the final straw. I sat down and asked myself the question I had been avoiding all along. What do I have against Disney? Is there something inherently evil about being really good at crafting children's stories that kids love? Is it that they make money from an array of products that remind kids of their favorite movies? Including our much beloved books? I loved my Holly Hobbie lunch box, but not because I was controlled by corporate America. I just liked having one with my favorite characters on it more than just having the lunch box with a stripe across it. Evil? I think not.

So why have I tried s hard to resist Disney stuff? Well, because the organic eating, super recycling, Waldorf enrolling moms that I love so dearly hate it. They are all so sophisticated and take every chance to do what's best for their kids. So if they shun Disney, there must be a really good reason. Right? And what would they think if they saw my kids in a Disney sweatshirt? Oh the shame.

Well, friends, I must report that the real shame is in having been a sheep, mindlessly following along. So now I report: I am happy that Disney is so good at making a story that gets my kids excited. I am grateful that they made all of those books in there on our shelf that my kids ask to read all day long. Really, they got my kids interested in reading and I'm tired of pretending that they are the enemy just to fit in with all those moms that I am otherwise on the same page with. Now we've even gone to Disney Land to visit all of those "book characters" and we had a wonderful time. I can't even imagine how exciting it would have been as a kid to meet the people from my favorite books. Hunter was so excited walking through Tarzan's tree house, pointing out all of the things he recognized from the pictures. It was beautiful to see him make those connections.

I am embarrassed for feeling ashamed of the Disney in our house for so long. So, sorry, Disney. I'm ready to defend my position rather than shy away in shame. We still may not watch all of the movies, but boy oh boy are we thankful for the books (and t-shirts, and toys, and puzzles, and...)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hit me with some comments!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© At Home with Momma Skyla. Powered by