Where is the Love?

I was driving the kids in the car the other day listening to one of my favorite songs “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. I love this song and could listen to it over and over again, singing horrifically along at the top of my lungs and feel every word of it deep in my heart – but I realized it was a pretty dark bitter song for my six and nine year olds to get. I switched songs. But that got me thinking… what kind of love songs does the new generation have? I grew up on Chicago, Richard Marx and Brian Adams where “Everything I Do, I Do It for You” and they’d be “Right Here Waiting” and Madonna’s “I’m Crazy For You” was the #1 dedication song on the radio. The songs I grew up listening to, created visions of grandeur of falling in love, being head over heels for each other, love never dying and love always bringing people back together. “All We Need Is Love” right?

Do Junior High School girls of 2012 have those same feelings? Do girls, twelve to sixteen, still get giddy over the thought of a boy liking them? Is anything like it used to be? Or are our Junior Highs and High Schools just packed with kids sexting each other, having non-meaningful sex with their friends with benefits and never having any emotional connections to anyone? My kids are not that old yet so I really don’t know. But that is the picture I get from watching Oprah and 20/20 type shows. I fear that kids today have no idea about love and emotional connections, loyalty and monogamy. Sure, I am a bitter thirty-something independent bossy woman who dabbled in casual dating in college now, but I didn’t grow up this jaded. I was once super sweet and naïve. It took multiple heartbreaks, humiliating devastations, being single & lonely, then married & frustrated – – – it took many years to build this cold heart of bitterness. I love the man-hating songs now – because they remind me of someone, but pre-Alanis Morisette I loved a sweet love song and a romantic chic-flick where he always picks her in the end. (Screw you MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING – he was supposed to pick Julia Roberts.)

I don’t want our kids to skip the hopeful, wistful, innocent stages of life and skip directly to jaded and corrupt. They need life experience to get that way like the rest of us had to. So how do I teach my kids about sweet love when today’s songs on the radio are “I love the way you lie” and Ke$ha for Cripes sake? (Who in one song says “Don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat, just show me where your dick’s at”) Oh Lordy, do they even stand a chance?

I grew up on shows like The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Family Ties, and Mad About You. Now days all the sitcoms are about casual sex, gay relationships, or a marriage where the man lies to his wife all the time (According to Jim). And they certainly don’t get to see sweet affection between their father and I as our main forms of communication are bickering and sarcasm (just like the sitcoms). They won’t get to witness the “I love you/I love you more/No I love you more” kind of stuff. (I think my husband has some unspoken rule where he’ll only say those three words if one of us is on a road trip and there’s the possibility of not returning alive).

Can kids grow up to be loving, mushy people without witnessing it first hand? I don’t know but all of a sudden I’m really nervous about that. I’ve been so busy trying to protect them from pedophiles, drowning and child obesity that I may have forgot to show them how to be loving. I show them love all the time and they reciprocate. They’re cuddly. They see how I love friends and family, and we help others we don’t know through charities. But will this be enough for them to someday make a really good boyfriend if they don’t see my husband being sweet to me? I seriously doubt it. I want my boys to grow up opening doors for girls, writing them cute little love letters, asking politely for dates, showing girls respect and tenderness, and hopefully not growing up to be man-whores.

My husband and I love each other, but we don’t act in-love. Mushiness is rare in our relationship. My husband says he doesn’t have to tell me he loves me because he shows me. Really? I must be blind. My parents were lovey-dovey people in front of me growing up. I like that. My first few boyfriends were like that too. But my adult life has been full of those that won’t communicate it at all. Should I let the kids read my love letters from my high-school boyfriend to see what mushy love is? Yeah right. (Oh come on, of course I kept them all these years; that was the last time I felt 100% loved and I had to have proof, or it would be like Edward & Bella “It’ll be as if I never existed”– sorry side tangent.) Maybe I’ll start making them watch chic-flicks with me. Or I guess I can try to be sweeter and more affectionate to my husband. Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work. Crap, this setting a good example thing isn’t easy… I got it – Country music still has morals and tenderness – it’s settled, we’ll start listening to country music.

*Disclaimer: I love Ke$ha’s music and funny gay sitcoms, just not for my kiddos.

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