I love when my kids discover new shows, music or movies that are not quite the mainstream. Just recently, my daughter purchased the movie Matilda starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. The movie dates back to 1996—long before she was born (or even a thought). Her reason for buying it (other than the gift card she was itching to use) was because she loved reading other books by the author who wrote Matilda. When we came home from the store, she watched it and loved it. But what I did not expect was that my four-year old son would also watch it and enjoy it just as much. In the month we have had it, they have watched it at least six times and know most of the dialogue by heart.
From this, I realized something. We are often so consumed with the latest and greatest of whatever is out there that we forget that there is so much greatness that already exists and is being overlooked. Shows that I grew up on are now being watched by my kids and they actually love them. They laugh at the jokes and find amusement in the antics. Sure, the shows and cartoons that are made today are a lot more sophisticated when it comes to content and technology, but kids do not often focus on those aspects. They want to be entertained and it does not matter if it comes from 2013 or 1996.
A perfect example of this is music. Much of today’s music samples songs that are from ten, twenty or even thirty years ago. When those original songs pop up on the radio, they recognize them and appreciate them—they even sing along. Many widely popular animated movies feature songs from yesteryear that kids today enjoy. Disco, Motown, pop music and classic rock can all be heard in just about any animated movie that kids watch. Even television shows are known for recreating these songs and including them.
I have to admit I am not a big fan of some of the stuff my generation grew up on like Tom & Jerry or Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner. Two animals going at each other with extreme violence and very little dialogue seems ridiculous and makes me wonder how we ever found those shows entertaining. This probably explains why today’s generation seems to be a lot more sophisticated at such a younger age than we were. But violent cartoons aside, shows like The Brady Bunch, What’s Happening, Happy Days, Full House, Home Improvement and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are just a few of the great shows that today’s kids can watch and enjoy. I have even showed a couple of episodes of I Love Lucy to my daughter and she found them very funny (although she found it even more amusing that there was a time when color television did not exist).
What is nice about these classic shows and movies is that they often have some type of lesson in them that are still relevant today. Learning how to deal with adversity, sibling rivalry, parental relationships and friendships can all be learned from programs and movies that date back further than our kids can fathom. And it is all done in an entertaining and amusing way for them to appreciate.
I think from now on the next time my kids are watching the same episode of Spongebob Squarepants or Good Luck, Charlie for the tenth time, I will venture back in time to see what Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty are up to or grab my Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory DVD so we can all sing along with the oompa loompas.