Grease, Jabbawockeez, Archie Comic Books and Mario Lopez

How do you connect with your kids?

We recently took a family trip to Las Vegas and saw the Jabbawockeez. I don’t know who enjoyed it more, me or my daughter. (If you get a chance, check it out – it’s an awesome show.)  Seeing the Jabbawockeez reminded me of the times I would, to the horror of my daughter, show her my old-school B-boy skills by popping and waving.  You know what I’m talking about! Although it didn’t quite look like this (By the way, after seeing Breakin’ when it was released in the 1980’s, you’re lying if you say you didn’t run home and grab a broom!)…



When my daughter was younger, as cute as the Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, and Teletubbies are, it’s not as if we could sit down and find some common ground to talk about.  How much is there to say about Boots the Monkey or Tinky Winky?  As my daughter got older, we started to find some things of mutual interest:

  • Music
  • Comic Books
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Basketball

Recently, she bought Grease and Saved by the Bell t-shirts.  My wife and I kept telling her to watch Grease because High School Musical reminded us of the 70’s classic.  I mean, I saw Grease when it first came out, and I was eight; although, I completely forgot about the adult themes. (Remember Rizzo’s possible pregnancy and how about the lyrics to “Summer Nights” or “Greased Lightnin’?”)  And our daughter made the Saved by the Bell connection when we mentioned that it was Mario Lopez’s gig long before ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew – where we discovered the Jabbawockeez).

Common Interests and Opportunities

Lately, I’ve found these connections, no matter how small, to be extremely valuable.  Long gone are the games of “Peek-a-Boo.”  She doesn’t want me to read her a bedtime story.  There are no more pretend conversations using her stuffed animals.  What I look for now are opportunities for dialogue, moments where we can interact and share a story, something funny, or even a life lesson.  It’s hard enough getting a teen to talk.  It’s much easier when the conversation is organic and comes as a result of a topic of common interest.  Here are some random examples:

  • Yes, that’s the same Lindsay Lohan from The Parent Trap.  You tell me – how do you think she went from cute child star to where she is today?
  • No, Chris Brown and Rhianna is not a good example of a loving relationship.
  • Let me tell you about the time your Uncle Anatole and I stood in line for six hours to catch the first showing of The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Yeah, Hunger Games was good but it reminded me a lot of this great movie called The Running Man.
  • One day we’ll go to Comic Con and you’ll understand what the big deal is about.
  • No, Eddie Murphy does more than just animated voices.  I don’t think you understand how big a star he was back in the day.
  • Seriously, I was on the high school football team – all four years, as a matter of fact.  No, I didn’t play all that much.
  • I know the play just started but I’m completely lost.  What is “Les Miz” about again?
  • Why would they ruin this classic song by remaking it?  This is terrible.  Come here and let me play the original for you.
In what ways do you share, teach and learn with your kids?  Here are a few others areas I’ve found helpful:
  • Favorite school subjects
  • Food
  • Volunteering
  • Hobbies
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports teams
  • Martial arts