“And we teach the power of consumption as an aid for social approval.” ~ Linchpin, by Seth Godin
I don’t usually weigh-in on such things. but the premise of HGTV’s new show, My Yard Goes Disney, really ticks me off. We’re talking full Grass Stain Guru White Trash Fit.
And mind you, nobody loves a fabulous gay making over a house on a $2,000 budget more than me. Nobody. But sorry HGTV, you deserve a little reality check.
So here’s the reality: Today’s children spend less time outdoors than any previous generation. In history. Ever. We are raising a generation of children that are disconnect from nature and plugged into screen time 7.5 hours a day (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010).
Consider this — “On average, preschool children see nearly 25,000 television commercials, a figure that does not include product placement.” (Federal Trade Commission, 2007.)
By all means, let’s put more product placements in their yards. It’s already on their yogurts and everywhere else they look. Frankly, the yards must be the final frontier.
Make. It. Stop.
So here’s the thing, HGTV. Society doesn’t need your help to further commercialize childhood. Its gorged itself in that department. And parents certainly don’t need your help to expose their children to any more product placements — it’s something you can barely escape.
Parents, your kids don’t need any more stuff, and they certainly don’t need to think the only possible reason to go outside is because their yard looks like Disney World or something off of television. In fact, that’s the whole point.
Nature — found in backyards and parks across the globe – is enough. It is wonderful, magical and stunning in its own right. And it also does something amazing. It challenges your children to think for themselves. To create and dream and experience the real world, versus some manufactured, commercialized and hyped version of it.
Shame on us if we have anesthetized children’s capacity for awe and wonder at the natural world, and our own. And double shame on us if we continue with this over-indulgent, unauthentic version of childhood that sadly seems to accepted as the norm.
So no thanks HGTV. No thanks Disney.
Do us all a favor, turn off the TVs and head out into your regular old yard with your kids. Hunt for four leafed clovers, make dandelion crowns and watch fireflies dance like fairies. Give your children something that is really worth remembering.
OK, Grass Stain Guru White Trash Fit over. And scene.
See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru