Have you ever thought about how much we push our kids to take after the heroes and princesses of movies and cartoons? When’s the last time you bought a bag, lunchbox, flask, shirt, any of all those wonderful marketing merchandise that the kids (and we) fall for that had only the sidekick on it?
I did – just last week. I bought Aaliyah an Olaf and Sven backpack. And believe me when I say, I hunted and hunted and hunted for an Elsa and Anna backpack. But as ToysRUs logically said – backpacks are very seasonal. So when some slightly crazy people like us decide to move to a country like Canada in December, backpacks are simply very very very limited.
So it was either Olaf and Sven for Aaliyah or Lightening McQueen. She had a Lightening McQueen backpack back in Pakistan (she was totally the cool girl with the boys backpack). This time however, she said she wanted a girls bag. She wanted Frozen, i.e. she wanted Elsa and Anna. But it t just wasn’t going to happen because barely anything was available. While I was backpack shopping she was swimming with her dad. I was so nervous about buying Olaf and Sven that I actually called them while they were in the pool. For some miraculous reason, she was happy with a blue and green (semi-)Frozen backpack.
On my way home, I started thinking – why, why was I so obsessed and upset that I couldn’t get her any other backpack. Jokes aside, I was literally obsessing that she’d have ONLY Olaf and Sven on her backpack. I even hunted for Elsa and Anna lunch bags but none of them would fit onto her backpack. And as I was having all these thoughts it hit my like a frozen ice-cube falling on my head:
I need to teach her that sidekicks are important too!
I have a daughter totally obsessed with winning. According to her teachers she’s a great sport at school. But at home – no one is a bigger sore loser than her. She has to win at every single thing. She has to come first all the time. Second is simply not an option for her! And other than the fact that most children are programmed this way, I think it’s because we place so much importance on the heroes of the stories. In movies, in TV shows, in books – it’s always about the heroes. I actually said to her, Olaf and Sven are awesome too! And here’s what’s wrong with that statement:
- I said it to calm the guilt in me for not finding Anna and Elsa.
- I used the word “too”! I should have just said – Olaf and Sven are awesome!
Boy oh boy – do I have a lot to learn. As she gets older, it becomes so much harder. Making sure that she has the right values in her becomes crazy important and a party of everyday life. I shall be focusing on all the sidekicks from now on – as soon as I get the chance to sit down and watch a movie with her.