The Lessons I Want My Kids to Learn from Punk Rock
I have two amazing daughters. Ever since birth, they have been surrounded by music. Although the youngest is still a toddler she loves to dance and sing. My eldest is now almost 7 years old and is extremely strong willed and definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. She is beginning to develop her own taste, and while I am proud that she loves when we put on The Ramones and proudly rocks her Chixdiggit shirt, I am equally happy that she tries to make her little sister stop crying by singing the entire Taylor Swift catalogue to her. The kid knows what she likes. I want my children to be able to come into their own as far as music is concerned. My own musical arc went from listening to Ace Of Base and Mariah Carey because all my friends did, to discovering Green Day and Offspring and branching from there. It was such an important part of becoming the person I am now and developing the values and ideals I hold so dear.
However, we are predominantly a punk rock household and that is what these little girls are going to grow up hearing. So, that being said, there are some amazing lessons punk rock teaches us and I truly hope that my kids will pick up on them. No matter what type of music they end up loving.
1) Be Yourself Seriously. Forget what others think of you. People waste so much time and energy worrying about what others think. Love the things you love and love them passionately! If you like nerd stuff for nerds, own that shit. As you grow, you realize there is nothing cooler than authenticity. Being happy and comfortable in your own skin will take you farther in life than any type of conformity for popularity’s sake ever can. When you are truly yourself, you have a greater capacity to see others for who they are and that in itself breeds kindness and understanding. And as they say: “Kindness Is Punk As Fuck”. LISTEN: TRUE BELIEVERS-BOUNCING SOULS NO CIGAR-MILLENCOLIN
2) DIY Things If there is something you really want but it doesn’t exist or isn’t accessible to you where you are, DO IT YOURSELF. Take a lesson from Youth Brigade and go out and make those things exist. Create a space for yourself to accomplish all the things you want.This is a scene born out of basement shows, zines and homemade band shirts. It’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it if it means you can do something that sets your soul on fire. A common origin story among punk bands seems to be “we wanted to start a band, so we went out and bought instruments. We couldn’t play them, so we taught ourselves.” If you have the motivation and the passion to do something, make it happen! LISTEN: TRY THIS AT HOME-FRANK TURNER LET THEM KNOW-YOUTH BRIGADE
3) Perfection Is Overrated Nobody is perfect. There are so many people who don’t try new things out of a fear of not being good enough. Own your mistakes. You learn more from the times you have to start over or you mess up than from your victories. Our imperfections drive us to constant self improvement and teach us so much about ourselves and the world around us. Go ahead and mess up, we all do it, but take your lessons from those times and use them to sculpt your outlook on life and the world around you. LISTEN: THE SCIENCE OF SELLING YOURSELF SHORT-LESS THAN JAKE I WON’T LIE DOWN-FACE TO FACE
4) Stand Up For What You Believe In So much of punk rock is rooted in fighting for causes. From The Clash to Propagandhi, bringing awareness to social injustices and striving to make the world a better place than we found it. I’m bleeding heart, I’ll just admit that from the get go. But shouldn’t we all be? I’d rather care deeply about humanity than be apathetic. For me, punk rock seemed like a call to arms of sorts to my empath heart and I hope my children feel that same pull from it. LISTEN: STRAIGHT TO HELL-THE CLASH RESISTING TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT-PROPAGANDHI
5) Knowledge Truly Is Power Intelligence kicks ass. It seriously does. When I was younger and found out how many punk rock artists were highly educated, it blew my mind. Read Greg Graffin’s books on evolutionary biology and anthropology, listen to Milo Aukerman talk about molecular biology. I truly believe that our thirst for knowledge feeds directly into our creativity. And I want my girls to always nurture those sides of themselves, the creative side, the scientific side, my oldest is fascinated by rocks and music. I want her to know that she can learn about geology and still be active in dance and music. LISTEN: MASS NERDER-DESCENDENTS OBSOLETE ABSOLUTE-LAGWAGON
6) Women can rock. Hard. Growing up I was always so inspired by women like Cinder Block, Gwen Stefani and Karina Denike, and later Brody Dalle, among others. Currently there are SO many amazing women kicking all kinds of ass in punk rock. Bad Cop/ Bad Cop, The Venomous Pinks, War On Women, The Interrupters, The Bombpops, The Last Gang….the list goes on. I try to expose my daughters to as many of these as possible, so they can be inspired the way I was. LISTEN: BAD COP/BAD COP-WOMANARCHIST THE DISTILLERS-BEAT YOUR HEART OUT
In the end, above all I want my girls to feel strong in their beliefs and to know that they can accomplish anything. That being yourself, being kind, and being socially aware will always be the coolest things you can be.