Growing up with Rock Stars

Ben Folds-Songs for SilvermanIt’s not like I have a living room full of famous people here or anything, but I got thinking how the perspective on kids is changing.

Like, on the new Ben Folds album there’s a song about Gracie, his daughter. Speaking not only as a parent, but also a fan of contemporary music, it was refreshing to hear someone like Ben Folds write such a touching ballad to his kid. But it was also revealing in regards to society’s attitude towards kids.

It used to be that, once you had a kid, that was it, game over. If you were the mom, you were stuck in the kitchen for the next 20 years, and dad had to put his nose down and quit his beer drinking. All in the effort of hiding the kid behind a facade of family. And family, as everybody knows, family and the hip scene ne’er shall meet.

Now, with the structural changes in the traditional societal male and female roles, kids are front and centre in most parents’ lives, and we show them off with pride. Sure, the beer drinking time still suffers a bit, but a parent is no longer expected to hide in the home until the tot heads off for college. It’s songs like "Gracie" that prove this. It all started way back when, really, with a Nirvana song about Cobain’s daughter (I can’t remember which one at the moment — All Apologies?). I never used to be this way. Can you imagine a Black Sabbath song about Ozzie’s brats? Or, for that matter, an Elton John song about kids (okay, low blow there, but you get the point).

When Ben Folds sings about his daughter it’s like I’m growing up with a rock star. I listened to Folds in my young and goofy days and it’s great that I’m, in a sense, raising a kid alongside him now. That he continues on as a rock star proves that having a kid is an embellishment of life, not an limitation.