We’ve talked before about enjoying the classics with your kids. Not necessarily ‘the classics’ in the ancient Greek literature sense, but classic rock, classic films. You know, the all time greats.
Of course, you should do this. Rock out on the way to school. Veg out over great movies. Forget what was cool when you were a kid, forget what’s cool now—bond over what’s timeless and great.
But there’s another part of this you have to understand: Your kids are not going to have the same taste as you. In that same interview we mentioned with Lars Ulrich, he talked about how he used to love going to Pixar movies with his kids—to see classics like Toy Story. He was joking about how after the success of those movies, “all the movie studios decided to do basically C- and D-level animated movies. And as the responsible parent that I considered myself to be at the time, every weekend we would go see whatever was there. My 8-year-old and 5-year-old are going, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. That was even better than Monsters, Inc.’ And I’m going, ‘Seriously!?’”
You’ve had a whole lifetime to develop your taste. You know the difference between popular and pandering. You know the difference between corporate schlock and real rock. You know this because you’ve been burned, because you’ve seen hundreds of movies, listened to countless albums. You’re further along in the journey.
So you’re going to have to put up with some stuff. Most of all because, if you don’t, you can be a downer. You can sap the joy out of something they loved. Don’t make them jaded. Let them enjoy the mediocre stuff while they still can! As AO Scott explained to Ulrich in the interview, as a critic, he had to figure out how to do this with his kids. “I learned to finesse it because when they were really young — 5, 6, 7,” he explained, “they’d just get furious. Now, I feel like I’ve created monsters because they’re in their early 20s and they’re such harsher critics than I am. We’ll watch something together. I’ll be like, ‘That was pretty good,’ and they’re like, ‘What? That was terrible.’ They’re often not wrong.”
You can’t expect your kids to have great taste yet…but just be ready. Because one day, they’ll have better taste than you do—just as you had better taste than your own parents—and they won’t be afraid to tell you.