Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Is It

I've mentioned it before, but basically my kids are obsessed with Michael Jackson. It all started when he died. We were on vacation when, the day after Connor's birthday, news came that we had lost the King of Pop. Suddenly, his music was playing more regularly on the radio, his videos were constantly shown on TV, and his name seemed to always be on our lips. And my kids were fascinated.

"Why did he die?"
"Why are their zombies in this video?"
"Who is that white lady singing his song in this video?" (answer: MJ)
"Was this song from when he was white or when he was black?"
"Why is he grabbing himself? Does he have to pee?"
"Was he old? Then why did he die?!?"

My kids have never known a person who has died before. They have lost a family pet, and learned a bit about death from that, but quite frankly I've tried to shield them. They basically have a "people and animals get reaaaally old and then they die, okay?" understanding of the whole thing. So hearing us talk about someone who died, someone we had basically grown up with, totally captivated them.

Beyond that, the kids were suddenly watching all of his music videos, all at once, for the first time. I'm sure the radical change in his appearance from song to song was shocking to take in all at once- it had been gradual for the rest of us, so we could sort of make peace with it. We tried to explain things the best we could, without painting too creepy a picture of the man. The kids were satisfied with our answers, and soon begging to listen to and dance along with his songs whenever they could. His music catalog is pretty impressive, after all- we found ourselves surprised that we hadn't really exposed them to it before.

Last fall, the in-laws and I took the kids to see "This Is It." It was a great film, one that had us singing and dancing for days, and we couldn't wait for Chip to see it too. And see it he has, since we bought it as soon as it came out on DVD. Connor and Chloe have spent months singing the songs and practicing the dance moves over and over again, just like we all did when we were young and watching the "Thriller" video on a continuous loop. And Chip and I have been dancing and singing along with them. It's been nice to look at Michael Jackson through the eyes of my kids, ignoring the messy parts. He really was a big part of my youth.

Last week, Connor came home with a school assignment to write a paragraph and create a poster about his hero. There were some suggestions, such as "person we've studied in school," "person who has helped other people," and "person we have celebrated a holiday for." The history major in me started naming a variety of interesting people and what they had done to be considered heroes, when Connor cut me off and said, "Michael Jackson!" There was no talking him out of it, and I guess there's really no need to. He doesn't know about the bad stuff, the controversial court settlement, the fact that dude's face was falling off in chunks, etc. He just knows that MJ has inspired him and tons of other people to sing and dance, and I guess that's enough.


Lisa said...

How sweet! The same thing happened at my house. Gavin got This is It for his birthday. Harry loves to draw Michael Jackson as the werewolf in Thriller. So funny! I enjoy the music too. How could you grow up in the 80's and not?

Scott Banbury said...

My boy's been doin' the moonwalk too, though he won't admit that MJ has anything to do with it ;-)

Anonymous said...

aww bless them, it's great to see another generation loving MJ.