My daughter is no idiot. This bodes well for me when she starts dating. This doesn’t bode well for me in the meantime because she asks a lot of good questions. Hard questions.
However, sometimes she removes me entirely from the equation and makes statements, sometimes astute observations, about the world that she has determined in her 6 (and a half) years of staunch inspection. Saturday was one of this days.
We were driving back from Cincinnati after a really good visit with family she had never met before.
“DADDY!” she is screaming at first because she has her headphones on and doesn’t realize how many decibels she is using to garner my attention – almost causing me to swerve out if my lane.
Without waiting for a reaction, she continues, “I figured something out. The same characters are in different shows.”
I have no idea where she is going with this. “What do you mean, honey?”
“I mean the same types of characters are in different shows. They do the same things. Like Rainbow Dash and Twighlight are the ‘cool ones’ and so are that green animal and the skunk on Littlest Pet Shop he is always doing cool dances and everyone loves him.”
And while the English teacher side of my brain was elated that she was analyzing two different sources for the portrayal of stereotypical fictional archetypes (I really wanted her to take it a step further and add in Reality Tv , but she is only 6… and a half), the parent side of my brain was sad that she was recognizing the “labels” that we often cast over groups of people.
Don’t get me wrong – I realize that she wasn’t categorizing real people. I would have a fit if she came home and told me that one of her friends (or daddy) wasn’t “cool”.
No, what makes me sad is that she realizes that these labels exist in our society. It was one of those “loss of innocence” moments.
So, I guess my job (as co-producer of this show) is to make sure that she understands that not only should she not pigeonhole other people into these categories, but she shouldn’t let herself be typecast either.
People play many different roles in life, and terms like “cool” are subjective at best. What I hope she understands is that we need to be who we are not because it fits in the role someone else casts us in, but because it is our authentic self.
Life, like theater it seems, is all in the casting. The thing about life though, and it is a beautiful thing – you get to play more than one role. And you get to do the casting.
When Jason and I direct student shows, we tell our students that every role is important and they are only as big, or little, as they choose to make them. It’s true in theater and life.
Heh. I never thought that My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop would offer me perspective on life and parenting. Thanks, Fluttershy and gang.