I have a bit of a parenting dilemma and I’d be curious to know what you all think about it.
I am a big fan of live shows in general. Musicals, plays, concerts … I’m into all of it. There are several Broadway shows whose soundtracks I know by heart. Les Miserables. Chorus Line. Aida. Dear Evan Hansen. Rent.
I also know all the lyrics to Hamilton. I mean, as much as is reasonable to expect. It’s a VERY wordy show. I don’t want to call it verbose because that implies that some of the words aren’t necessary. I wouldn’t get rid of any of them.
Singing along with show tunes is usually something I do when I’m alone in the car. It’s not really the coolest thing to do (apparently) and people can be judgy. Not that I care what people think but I can’t exactly dive into my most emo self during ‘On My Own‘ (Les Mis) the way I want to while someone is in the room rolling their eyes or putting their fingers in the ears. I also cannot belt out ‘Tits & Ass‘ (Chorus Line) while my children are in the back seat for obvious reasons.
*Side note* – One of the people who judge my love of show tunes is a fan of techno music so there goes all her credibility. 🙂
So anyway, in school, Ace was introduced to Hamilton. He came home singing the opening song. It’s kind of a Cliff Notes version of Alexanders life. It made me happy. It made Shaunie roll her eyes even further back into her head and stick her fingers even further down inside her ears.
I think it’s great that schools are using the show to get kids interested in learning history. We all know that history class has a reputation for being boring – But it doesn’t have to be.
In drama class they also use it. The kids were broken into groups and given a part of the show to recreate. Ace got the role of Philip Hamilton at the time of his duel. I gave him some back story and then we had fun imagining how Philip would be feeling in that situation and then practicing how it would play out. So much better than math homework.
I’ve said a lot so far without actually saying much of anything. Talk about burying the lede. OK, here’s my concern:
Ace has taken that inch he got at school and gone the whole mile with Hamilton. He is now interested in knowing all the songs. He’s only 11 and the show does cover some adult-ish topics and includes some adult language which I don’t know if I’m comfortable with him singing about/along with.
But is one little “shit” the worst thing if he’s also learning the meaning of words like anarchy and intransigent and unimpeachable and deniability and civility and quagmire and abrasive and reticent?
Is a fairly mild wading into the topic of adultery so bad for him to be exposed to, if, because of this show, he’s also curious about other historical figures and events?
Is him singing “pain in the ass” really so bad if it means we are doing a duet? Me playing the role of all the women and him playing the men in ‘Take A Break’? It’s quality time and I love having someone to share my love of history and show tunes with.
Lately the 2 boys have been listening to ‘Aaron Burr Sir’ over and over and over and yes there’s a line in it that says “it’s hard to have intercourse over 4 sets of corsets”, … *yikes* … but I don’t think they really know what they’re singing when they get to that line and Jay absolutely delights in it when Ace gets to the part where he sings “Ooh who are you? Who you? Who are you? Ooh, who is this kid? What’s he gonna do?”
The no-fighting bro time is worth it … Right?
Help me out here. Tell me that it’s all fine and that I should just go with it.
P.S. Lin-Manuel is killing me. He put out a new song about the life of Benjamin Franklin. I was super excited because:
A) Lin-Manuel and B) Another cool way for the kids to learn about yet another founding father.
Except, I listened to the song this morning and it’s great and very educational but he drops more than a couple F bombs. Like, a lot of them. That’s a hard no for me. Come on Linny; help a mama out and make some kid-friendly history songs.