Shopping for my Girls

Posted on: 04/30/10 8:09 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I went shopping with my girls last night. Both my girls have hit growth spurts recently, and my wife Lori went through the girl’s closets earlier this week, getting rid of old clothes that are too small. Wednesday she warned me, “The girls need some clothes.”

So last night, I went with them to some outlets near our house.

Have you shopped for tween and teen girl clothes lately?

Alyssa is 14 and likes short shorts. So last night was full of a lot of, “Are you kidding me?!!!” from me when Alyssa would hold up a pair of shorts that contained less cotton than you’d find in the top of a bottle of Tylenol. We had some good conversations and I tried to “pick my battles.” When the night was done she was really happy with what she walked away with.

Ashley is 12 and she’s only 76 pounds, which makes it really hard to find clothes for her. She doesn’t starve herself… she’s just teeny like her mother. Shopping for her is difficult. She wants to wear teenage clothing, but only fits in “kids” clothes. We were excited when we found some retro Star Wars and IronMan t-shirts at Gap Kids (yes… shirts for little boys. But my Ash looked pretty dang cool rockin her Ironman shirt this morning!)

I don’t know how many parents go out shopping with their kids, but it’s a good experience to learn where trends are at and to dialogue about modesty, etc. Plus it was just a fun night together laughing and joking around.

Some stores are recognizing concerns from parents and are seeking to provide “mom-approved” clothes, stores like J.C. Penny. This article talks a little about that- here’s a snippet:

In 2009, JCPenney talked to tweens and moms about their shopping habits and style tastes. While tweens initiate shopping trips and select apparel items themselves, moms continue to join them on shopping trips and have a final say in the purchase. JCPenney confirmed through its research that tweens desired the latest fashion trends — with color, embellishments and comfort highlighted as important factors — while moms noted that apparel should not feature edgy slogans and should offer layering components to make the items age-appropriate and adhere to school dress code requirements.

It’s hard for today’s girls to dress modest in a hoochified world.

Tonight Lori and I are hosting the jr. high girls at our house for a discussion on self Esteem, modesty and purity (I’ll be using a ton of research- and showing them this). We’ll be spending a little bit of time talking about what girls wear and how it affects guys. Should be a good time. If you have a moment, pray for this time.

Parental Guidance on Movies Makes a Difference

Posted on: 04/28/10 12:48 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A new study from Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) reveals that monitoring our kids’ media choices actually pays off! Imagine that.

James Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at DMS, also principal investigator in the study contends, “The research to date suggests that keeping kids from R-rated movies can help keep them from drinking, smoking, and doing a lot of other things that parents don’t want them to do.”

That pretty well sums it up.

The researchers talk specifically about the affect of adult content, noting that “PG-13 movies as well as many TV shows frequently portray drinking and other adult situations.” The study is fascinating. I encourage you to take a peek.

The question is: will parents listen to this warning?

In my article titled, “Dad, can I download this song?” I introduced two extremes in parenting styles: Sally SoWhat, who doesn’t monitor what her kids watch or listen to at all, and Shirley Shoebox who locks her kids in a dungeon without any exposure to the real world, releasing them at age 18. Neither are healthy.

Many people don’t want to be Shirley Shoebox, so much so, that they retreat to the polar opposite end of the spectrum, becoming very much like Sally SoWhat, a very “hands-off” parenting style. The sad fact is, most of these parents are in the dark as to what media messages are actually bombarding their kids daily; furthermore, they don’t realize the negative impact these messages can have.

In this new study, DMS partnered with the University of Oregon and the University of Michigan and studied 4,655 fifth through eighth graders, talking with 2,406 of the group. The researchers found a link between exposure to R-rated movies and the likelihood of drinking alcohol, as well as becoming more prone to ‘sensation seeking’ and risk taking.

Add to that the fact that this R-rated content is only a click away. Bottom line: Parents need to involved in their kids lives, having conversations about media, and monitoring what they watch. That’s what the experts are saying. The DMS study concluded by actually quoting the October 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) study, recommending that children watch no more than one to two hours of “quality” media each day.

If you missed that AAP music and lyrics report, I strongly encourage you to take a peek at that as well– I summarized some of those findings in our Youth Culture Window article the week the study was released. That report confirmed that lyrics have become more explicit in references to sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and violence. Furthermore, the authors gave numerous examples of the correlation between media exposure and negative behaviors. The report gave particular attention to the effect of music videos. Frequent watching of music videos has been related to:

  • an increased risk of developing beliefs in false stereotypes and an increased perceived importance of appearance and weight in adolescent girls
  • an increased probability that they would engage in violence, a greater acceptance of the use of violence, and a greater acceptance of the use of violence against women
  • an increased acceptance of date rape
  • permissive sexual behaviors
  • more accepting of premarital sex (specifically with those watching MTV)
  • increased risky behaviors
  • alcohol use

Parents… are you listening?

Convicted Rappers Speaking at Schools

Posted on: 04/26/10 9:10 AM | by Jonathan McKee

What have we become?

That was my question when I first learned that rapper T.I. was speaking at middle schools as part of his community service. Apparently I’m not alone in my disapproval. Yahoo News gives us a glimpse:

T.I.’s March 5 visit to Woodland Middle School in Stockbridge, Georgia has outraged parents..

Tom Myers, the father of four girls in the Henry County School System, said that if he knew the rapper and convicted felon was going to appear at his daughters’ school, he would have kept them home that day..

Myers shared with WSBTV a complaint letter he emailed to Oatts. “In the future, if T.I. or any other convicted felon needs to perform community service, ask for parental permission to allow our children to be exposed to these questionable individuals,” he wrote..

I touched on this in my blog last March when T.I.’s sentence (he was facing up to 20 years) was reduced to just one year and a day if he did community service hours by speaking to young people about gangs and violence. (Side note: he was out by Christmas. That’s a pretty quick year.)

Have Adults Given Up?
When are our school systems going to wake up and realize that we’re not helping our kids by allowing this kind of influence?

Let me be very clear. We– adults— are the gatekeepers. We have control who speaks to our kids. We have control who our kids listen to and purchase. We have control what music is played at our schools.

Last Friday night my 12-year-old, Ashley, had a track meet that took place at the local high school. Music was blaring in the ears of all the parents in the bleachers. When we were taking our seat, I Gotta Feeling was playing. Then, no joke, the next song was from Eminem, then the next song from Lil Wayne. You can’t imagine how relieved I was when a Bon Jovi song came on (I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to hear Bon Jovi before. But, heck, I’d take anything at the moment!). Was an adult in charge of this track meet? Why were we all be subjected to foul-mouthed perverts when all we wanted to do was see our kids run track?

Have we just given up? Are we– adults— supposed to just give up and, not only tell our kids that this music is okay, but play it for them! Are we–adults— supposed to keep giving these individuals awards and elevating them to “hero” status?

Are we so bankrupt on positive role models that we need to book morally bankrupt rappers to come and speak at our schools?

Did T.I. have a major life-style change that qualified him to come and speak to our young people? Or does our federal court system think anyone who gets busted is qualified to be a role model to our young people today? (“And our next speaker, Charles Manson! He got busted too. Let him speak!”)

I can’t help but wonder if some of these adult decision makers don’t know all the information. Have they ever looked at T.I.’s content?

A quick search of T.I.’s albums will give you a glimpse of his true message to young people, the one they’re putting into their ears at the rate of 2 hours and 19 minutes per day, anyway. I encourage you to Google some of his lyrics. Songs like, “I’m Chillin’ With My B*tch.”

I ain’t hangin’with my niggaz, pullin’ no triggaz
I’ll be back to the trap, but for now
i’m chillin’ with my b*tch today
i’m chillin’ with my b*tch today

I ain’t hangin’ with my partners, I’m out eatin’ lobster
I’m on some grown man sh*t, ya dig
i’m chillin’ with my b*tch today
i’m chillin’ with my b*tch today

Well. Isn’t that special.

Or how about a song off the same album as his recent hit, “Whatever You Like” that I talked about in my March blog. This song is called “Porn Star,” about a girl he meets and solicits sex from. Take a peek at the lyrics:

Hey would you..stay
Could with it, with your tongue just a..little
You such a sexy individual physical and mental
And if it’s sentimental shouldn’t rules bend a little
Hey let me start at the top stop in the middle use a popsicle
Make you shiver giggle when it tickle
I could talk to you dirty if you’d like that (bad girl)
I finish once, hit a blunt, start right back
I know you told me you a good girl
But shawty you’s grown woman not a little girl
You could blame it on the patron or the champagne
But sometimes being bad could be a good thing

Oh yeah sitting here (I’m looking at you like, “Damn”)
We sippin’ on patron, something’s on my mind (you wanna leave with me tonight)
It’s been killing me all night long, and I wonder(listen shawty let me tell you what I’m thinking ‘bout)
Oh girl I wonder (for real shawty let me tell you what im thinking ‘bout)
It’s the end of the night, and I’m thinking you might
Wanna leave the bar, park the car, turn into a porn star

By the way. If you’re offended by the above lyrics. Good! You should be. That’s why I posted them for you. Because apparently we adults have no idea who our kids are listening to. When T.I.’s song Whatever You Like hit the charts in 2008, this album sold like hotcakes in 08 and 09, and this content is what kids across the nation were listening to.

And now they’re listening to him at their school assemblies.


(ht to David R. Smith for the Yahoo article)

Neck Deep in Manure

Posted on: 04/23/10 8:57 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve always got my eyes on the news looking for illustrations or discussion starters. This headline definitely caught my eye:

Police Find Suspect Neck-deep in Liquid Manure Pit

Apparently a man wanted on meth charges was hiding from the police and thought, “They’ll never find me in here!”

(I pause for laughter)

How would you like to be the cops who had to pull him out and cuff him! (the article says he became combative and had to be shocked twice with a stun gun!)

Funny that someone would resist being pulled from manure.

Hmmmmm. Neck-deep in manure… sounds crazy…but our kids hide in it every day. Just look at the top songs on iTunes and Billboard (I gave you a peek at the top 10 last week). That’s a high concentration of crap. And according to the January Kaiser report, our kids average 2 hours and 19 minutes of music per day.

Music has always been a means of escape for people. Teenagers often turn to music when feeling down or depressed. Research shows that music can release chemicals in the brain that triggers certain memories or make you feel better. This is the point of Miley’s hit song, Party in the USA. A girl is feeling bad and insecure, but then, according to the song’s lyrics, “the Britney song was on” or “the Jay Z song was on…” and “I know I’m gonna be okay.” (We actually wrote a Music Discussion starter using this song)

Miley’s song has some truth. Music does give a temporary thrill. The Bible talks about David using music to soothe Saul’s temper. I love music. And Miley’s song is probably pretty true to this culture, naming two artists that are very popular (Britney and Jay Z). It’s just too bad that the lyrics coming out of both of these artists are pure crap.

Do you know what your kids are immersing themselves in?

Text Messaging Use Rising Still

Posted on: 04/21/10 7:58 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Teen girls 14-17 are the leaders of the pack, averaging 100 messages a day. That’s an average. Think about that for a second. That is not some extreme example of one kid who texts 3,000 texts a month. That’s the average!

The Pew Internet and Life Project came out with a brand new study just yesterday with some of these updated numbers. It seems that every time we turn around a new report is released on text messaging, texing-and-driving, or sexting. David, in this week’s Youth Culture Window article, focused on the problem of sexting, sharing some personal experience helping kids and educators in his own community deal with the problem.

This new Pew study gives a pretty good summary of just how popular texting is at the moment, and who’s doing it:

Here’s a snippet:

  • 31% of teens send and receive more than 100 messages per day, or more than 3,000 messages a month.
  • 15% of teens who are texters send more than 200 texts a day, or more than 6,000 texts a month.
  • Boys typically send and receive 30 texts a day; girls typically send and receive 80 messages per day.
  • Older girls who text are the most active, with 14-17 year-old girls typically sending 100 or more mes­sages a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.
  • While many teens are avid texters, a notable minority are not. One-fifth of teen texters (22%) send and receive just 1-10 texts a day, or 30-300 a month.

The report goes into further detail about some of the struggles parents have with their kids and cell phones, calling cell phones a “mixed blessing.” Cell phones make their lives safer and more convenient, yet also provide new tensions.

Click here to download the whole study.

Kids Burning Themselves on YouTube

Posted on: 04/20/10 10:43 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s funny when small sub-cultures get air time (and am I only furthering it by reporting about it?)

So let me preclude this blog by saying, “This isn’t mainstream!” In other words, I don’t think your kids or their friends are probably doing this. From what I hear, this is a very small crowd of kids. But thanks to YouTube, the buzz is out and your kids and their friends might have at least heard, “Hey… did you hear about those kids that are lighting themselves on fire on YouTube?”

Yeah. It’s really as dumb as it sounds. It’s like MTV’s Jackass, but for real.

YouTube has a bunch of videos of kids lighting themselves on fire with comments like, “This is (name) being lit on fire. Only the cool kids light themselves on fire these days!”

I’ve seen a few articles on the subject, not much yet.

I don’t know what’s worse, the random videos of kids lighting themselves on fire, or videos like this one from this guy who teaches people how to “safely” light themselves on fire. (click here if you don’t see the embedded video below)

Here’s my thoughts on this one: have conversations with your kids about what they’re watching.

In my house, I don’t even need to start these conversations. My daughter came up to me yesterday and asked me, “Dad, have you see the Hot Kool-Aid video on YouTube? It’s hilarious!” (She saw it at school). I told her I hadn’t. She said, “You gotta see it!”

So we went home and she showed it to me. It was pretty funny (I know some of you are going to search that one now).  🙂  We sat and chatted a little bit about the funniest videos she’d seen lately.

I find that if parents are open with their kids and listen, then most kids will be fairly transparent about what they are watching. After a fun conversation like the one I had with my daughter, parents could ask questions like, “What are some of the weirdest things you’ve seen on YouTube lately?” (notice I don’t walk right up to my kids and ask that. I start light, with questions like, “What’s the funniest video you’ve seen?” Break the ice with your kid first.) If kids share about some weird things they’ve seen, ask them, “What did you think of that?” or “Do you know anyone who does that?”

Sometimes kids won’t share everything. That’s why when my daughter was gone I actually looked up some of the recent searches she did lately as well. My kids know that I can search their history, their cell phones, etc. at any time.

As parents, we just need to be involved in our kids lives. Keep having conversations.

(ht to Todd Pearage)

Guess Where I Grew Up

Posted on: 04/18/10 9:10 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This past weekend on a speaking trip I had a little extra time Sunday morning to drive up to the small, one-high-school-town I lived in 30 years ago as a kid. What a reminiscent little jaunt!

Hmmmm. Maybe I’ll have a little contest seeing if you can guess where this town is (better keep reading).

I stopped by my little elementary school, the house I lived in back then (see pic to right), and the church that my dad pastored at the time. It’s crazy how nostalgic this small town is for me. I only lived there three years (from age 7 to 10). But I have such strong memories of riding my little bike with the big banana seat around the neighborhoods (yeah… it was rockin!), walking home from school with my brother (remember when kids walked home from school?), climbing a tree in my backyard, playing football with my dad and brother on the front grass…

Good times!

I drove around the town in my rental car taking it all in. I couldn’t believe how many of the little streets I remembered, although it was strange driving a car instead of peddling a bike. I drove by several of my friends’ houses—my 8 and 9-year-old friends from 30-years ago—wondering if their parents still lived there. I even saw the edge of the creepy-looking woods where my buddy Mark Krouse and I got lost for about 30 minutes—it felt like a day!

As I pulled up to my school a nice memory popped in my head. You see, my mom or dad used to pick up my brother Thom and I from school when the weather was bad during the winter. I saw the spot where they usually parked our little brown family car, a 1976 Volkswagen Dasher. One particular Friday after school my brother and I arrived at the car to find both my mom and dad in the car with a couple suitcases in the back.

Thom and I were no dummies… we almost never traveled those days. So we immediately wondered what was going on. My parents tried to play it off. “Oh, really? Are there suitcases back there? Hmmmmm.”

I don’t even remember how far the drive was, but probably within an hour or so we pulled up to a little motel called the LampLighter(funny that I remember the name). I don’t know where it was or even remember what the rooms looked like. I just remember walking through the snow covered parking lot into the little motel lobby… and seeing the indoor pool! This was paradise for Thom and I! My parents’ little surprise trip to the LampLighter was the highlight of our year. (In retrospect… I think the place was probably just a rinkydink little motel. But we didn’t care. We were swimming in the middle of winter!)

It’s amazing what you can remember when you take time to look around your childhood stomping ground.

Random Contest Idea: I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged or written about this little town. I know I’ve mentioned it speaking. So let’s see if any of you will be able to figure out where it is. Here’s the pic I shot of the church from my phone. This is the church I attended when I was 7 through 10 years old! My dad was the pastor there for 3 years. (If no one gets the answer by noon on Monday Pacific Time, I’ll add a hint in the comments.)

THE CONTEST: I’ll give a copy of any one of my books (your choice) to the first person who uses the comment section below to tell me where this church this is (what city, etc.). (one guess per person)

I’ll give you a quick hint to start. It’s not even half an hour from this thing!

Good luck!

The “C” in YMCA

Posted on: 04/17/10 8:41 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Do you know what the “C” stands for in YMCA?

I don’t recall the Village People mentioning it in their song.

This weekend I’m getting a glimpse of the “C” in action at the YMCA of the Ozarks here in MO. The YMCA networked with a group of churches for the weekend to host an event called Faithfest. They have brought me in to share the Gospel. I speak twice Saturday and once Sunday.

The weekend has been great so far, despite my battle with sickness and lack of sleep. But that’s my fault. I’ve been full throttle for a few weeks now without taking a day off. Unfortunately, my body is already rebelling (soar throat… feeling sick).

Friday morning when the alarm went off at 3:45AM… it was hard to get up. I jumped on a plane to Denver. Two hours later I hustled to my St. Louis connection… another 2 hours, and I landed in St. Louis. I actually dozed off a few times in the plane– uncommon for me. I usually can’t sleep on a plane.

I hopped in a rental car (not a SmartCar this time!) and grabbed a quick bite before heading to the YMCA of the Ozarks. By the time I arrived… I was beat. Luckily, the workers at the Y were warm and hospitable. They gave me a nice room overlooking the lake. Pretty country.

I literally went to bed at 8PM (which was 6PM my time), and I was out for the count!!! Next thing I know, the alarm went off at 8AM. Wow. 12 hrs in bed. I used every minute of it!

Do you think this is why God told us to take a day of rest. (Stop sinning Jonathan… take a freaking day off!)

The good news… I feel 100% better this morning.

Enough about Jonathan. Back to the YMCA. The acronym stands for Young Men’s Christian Association.

The people here at the “Y” are very cool. It seems that they want to bring the “Why” back into the “Y.” I can tell it’s a struggle in a world that wants to be politically correct. Let’s face it. For decades now, a lot of the people at the “Y” haven’t focused much on the C. So I credit these guys for being intentional about focusing on the C.

In a country where the word “Christian” is often a repellant, I hope that His believers can really bring a focus back on Christ. Jesus was amazing. His love, compassion and grace attracted crowds of thousands. The worse the sinner, the more they wanted to see Jesus. Even Samaritans– the ones who had seemed to sway so far from the truth– were amazed by his message of love and grace.

Balance that with the fact that Jesus never budged on his theology. The same Jesus that dined with sinners, and showed mercy to pagans and adulterers… that same Jesus wasn’t afraid to say, “I’m the only way.” (John 14:6) Or, Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Far from politically correct.

The very Jesus that “didn’t come into the world to condemn the world,” (John 3:17) wasn’t afraid to tell people the truth.

He loved them that much.

Props (hat tip) to YMCA of the Ozarks.

If you’re reading this blog Saturday. Pray for me at 7PM Missouri time as I share the Gospel. If you’re reading this Sunday morning, pray for me at around 10 AM when I’ll be talking about living a life of faith in Jesus “day to day.” If you’re reading this after then… pray anyway. God is timeless.  🙂

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The Pre-airbrushed Britney Spears

Posted on: 04/14/10 9:54 PM | by Jonathan McKee

In a few weeks my wife is having all the middle school girls from our church over to our house for a fun night called “Girl Talk,” engaging in conversation with them about self esteem, modesty, and purity. Today we were looking at some of the content we’ll be using… and I came across a great resource to talk to girls about their body image.

We’re going to show the girls these BEFORE and AFTER pictures of Britney Spears, showing the pre-airbrushed images from a fashion shoot alongside the digitally-altered ones, so the girls can see the difference.

I know that Britney isn’t much of a role model, but I’ve gotta give her points for releasing these photos. Pretty cool. She actually released them to show young girls her imperfections and show them the difference that digital alterations make.

Click here for the entire article.

(ht to Anastasia)


Posted on: 04/12/10 4:27 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This past weekend I had the opportunity to preach about youth culture, then do a parenting workshop in a church in South Bend, IN. On the drive to the workshop, I decided to tune into a popular radio station to hear a sampling of what our kids were hearing, wondering if I’d hear many of the “Hot 100” songs I’d been researching. After all, I know the top 10 songs kids were downloading. iTune shows us that at a glance. But I was curious what the radio was playing.

This particular radio station seemed like it was playing right from the “Top 10” charts, because in the hour that I had the radio on, I heard almost every song that I had been studying.

After about an hour of listening… I felt like I needed to take a shower and wash off the filth.

Seriously. I study this stuff all the time, and yet I still am amazed how potent today’s music is with oversexualized lyrics. (Is oversexualized even a word? Nope. I just pasted it into WORD and it gave me a little red wiggly line.)

Let me give you a glimpse at some of these top songs I heard.

The first song I heard was the joint venture from Beyonce and Lady Gaga, Telephone. The song itself isn’t necessarily profane. It just comes from the perspective of a girl in a club who is getting a call from a recent boyfriend. Gotta love the mentality– the lyrics give you a glimpse:

Just a second; it’s my favorite song they’re gonna play and I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?

The crazy thing about this song is the video, which is still number one on iTunes today. The 30-second preview on iTunes says it all. You’ll be amazed. I won’t go into too much more detail, I’ve already devoted an entire blog article to this video.

I actually talked about this video and showed some screenshots when I preached on Sunday. A teenager attending who liked Lady Gaga commented, “You shouldn’t pick on Lady Gaga. She’s Catholic.”


In my parent seminar I couldn’t pass that comment up. After all, if I found out that the corner drug dealer was Baptist… does that make what he’s doing okay? Call him what you want. He’s selling our kids garbage.

The music industry is doing the same thing. And medical professionals are becoming very concerned with this kind of content. I devoted an entire Youth Culture Window article to this subject.

The second song I heard is the number one song on Billboard’s Hot 100, Rude Boy, by Rihanna, a song with the first line, “Come here rude boy, boy; can you get it up?”

It doesn’t get any better. Here’s a snippet:

Tonight I’ma let you be the captain
Tonight I’ma let you do your thing, yeah
Tonight I’ma let you be a rider
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up babe
Tonight I’ma let it be fire
Tonight I’ma let you take me higher
Tonight, baby, we could get it on, yeah, we could get it on, yeah

Do you like it?
Boy, I want, want, want whatchu want, want, want
Give it to me, baby like boom, boom, boom
What I want, want, want is what you want, want, want
Nah nah-ah

Yes, that’s the number one song on Billboard’s Hot 100 right now, #4 on iTunes.

You gotta love what many of these songs are doing today. They are slippin under the radar and being deemed “clean” by the world’s standards (I addressed that fact in more detail in this blog about the Black Eyed Peas), when the lyrics are anything but clean. Yes, Rude Boy doesn’t have cuss words. So it’s clean, right? Let’s be honest. The whole song is about hooking up. But, hey… as long as they don’t cuss, right?

The next song I heard was Bed Rock by a whole mess of young rappers including Lil Wayne, Drake, and a bunch of other thugs. I don’t need to say much about a song with the chorus, “Baby, my room is the G spot, call me Mr. Flintstone, I can make your bed rock.” Then they repeat that four more times, “I can make your bed rock.”

The song also features young female rapper, Nicki Minaj, with this opening line:

Okay, I get it, let me think, I guess it’s my turn
Maybe it’s time to put this p***y on your sideburns

In the “clean” version (as they call it) and the edited video, the crass word for her genitalia is edited, you just see her grab her crotch as she mouths it.

Nice to have yet another good role model for our young women, don’t you agree?

The next song I heard was Usher’s new song OMG, the same one he performed on American Idol two weeks ago. Is it just me, or is American Idol allowing racier stuff recently? It used to be a little bit safer for family viewing, but the last couple years have seemed to digress in terms of the ‘role models’ that perform and coach on the show. Yes, these “artists” are talented. But are they role models? Does America even know the difference?

Usher’s song OMG is a joke. Let me be clear. Usher is incredibly talented and some of his songs are really good artistically (although very often bankrupt morally- more on that here). But this song is really weak. The lyrics sound like a teenager verbalizing his first visit to a night club. A snippet:

i fell in love with shawty when i seen her on the dance floor
she was dancing sexy, pop, pop, popping, dropping, dropping low
never ever has a lady hit me on the first sight
this was something special ; this was just like dynamite
honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow
honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow

Need I say more?

Let’s just say that my drive was pretty depressing. As other songs played (Kesha talking about guys wanting to “touch her junk”), I realized how hard it must be for our young people who listen to this stuff all the time.

It doesn’t require studies like these (students listening to a lot of music with sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse within the following two years…) to tell you what effect listening to this content regularly would have on teenagers.

So what can we do?

That’s what I spent two hours talking about on Sunday at my parenting workshop. It’s a balance of rules and a relationship. Yes, rules are necessary. It’s okay to say, “This doesn’t belong on your iPod.” But rules without a relationship lead to rebellion. For many parents, building a relationship with their kids is where this begins.

Have ongoing conversations about music and media with your teenagers. Don’t let the world set the standard for you!

Wow! What a weekend.