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we built this family on rock 'n roll
a mother's secret to successful parenting
by jj freyermuth

In my opinion, rock n’ roll is a necessary component to good parenting. Sorry to all you country, hip hop and what- not fans out there. I hate to break it to you, but if you aren’t a fan of screaming electric guitars and thrashing drums, your kids may end up on the streets running amuck like wild animals.

I say this because it works. I was raised by a loving, nurturing older brother who taught me right. The mid to late ‘70s was a magical time to be a kid. All around us were visible signs of rock influence: corduroy bell bottoms, long hair, concert tees and a certain rocker coolness that exuded only from those who “got it”. It seemed the air itself was charged with electricity that got its power from amplification, a serenading Fender guitar and bass notes that you could feel in your gut.

This was the era of superior rock artists. I remember very fondly the mind blowing effects of such rock icons as Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss (I proudly served a tour of duty in the Kiss Army), Led Zeppelin (of which there is no parallel), Bad Company, Queen and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Listening to these greats for the first time seemed to unlock an area in the brain that lead to wild creativity and extreme bliss.

All of these bands and many more could be heard in routine rotation in our house on eight-track, vinyl, or later, cassette tape. They were the hymns we lived by. We weren’t church-goers but gave thanks on Sunday mornings to the crisp sounds of a clean turntable needle as a detuned Tony Iommi said with his guitar what mere words themselves failed to get right.

I carried this with me into adulthood, continually turning back to bands that provided me solace: The Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, Nazareth, Three Dog Night, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath. I could go on and on!

Luckily I married a man who admired rock as well. I guess I had to. It probably would have been a deal breaker considering my views on music are as staunch as any religious opinion out there. If I had married someone who didn’t get the importance of rock in life, it would have been akin to a devout Christian marrying an Atheist. I don’t see how that would have worked at all!

When my children entered this carnival ride of a family, I made a solid commitment to my rock history to educate them in the art of heavy electric music. They grew up with not only a strong foundation of classic rock but also blues, jazz, folk, alternative rock, reggae, some soft pop and country classics. (I was just being cheeky in my opening statement!)

Putting headphones on my prego belly ensured that from as early of an age as possible I was sharing with them who their mama is. By doing this I was opening a world of expression to them that would prove to be very useful whenever life turned to crap. And if there is one thing we can count on, it is that life gets crappy sometimes.

My children and I have strong healthy relationships with one another; however there have been moments when our family has struggled. In those craptacular moments in life when family disappoints, feelings are hurt, when the world seems conspired to see us fail, when friends are scarce and confidence is low, rock n’ roll has served as the tough love rebel yelling “Get up and rock on!”

Rock music is the adhesive that binds us wildly together. It is our shared interest and passion. My son has gone on to play sax, guitar, harmonica and now bass. He even bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Jimmy Page. I am sure that my daughter would be ecstatic to put her college degree to good use as an owner of an independent and slightly elitist record store somewhere between Hip Town and Coolville.

Whatever we have faced, whatever adversities that have challenged us, rock n’ roll has guided us through. It taught me at a young age that it is okay to question authority, to be angry, to be different. I am glad that I was smart enough to pass that along to my own children.

I am proud of the fact that I built a rock n’ roll foundation for my kids. Maybe someday I will have a grandkid propped on my knee. As we listen to those indefinable rock legends, I can remind this tot that they don’t always have to listen to their parents. I can tell him or her that so long as you stay safe and try not to hurt others, it is okay to question the system, fight it if need be. I can proclaim “if it is too loud, you’re too old!” Most importantly I can provide the best advice of all, sometimes you just need to rock it out!

So for those about to rock, from my family to yours, we salute you!


JJ Freyermuth is a mother, wife, writer and editor currently living and working in the bustling metropolis of Casa Grande, Arizona. Armed with a Pentel RSVP ballpoint pen and a three subject notebook, she usually writes interesting, heart-warming and sometimes odd articles on life in small town desert territory and the joy of being a middle-aged woman with a teen-aged brain. She is sure to leave you laughing, crying, scratching your head, or just plain sighing with general contentment.

more about jj freyermuth


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jeff miller
6.15.10 @ 11:02a

I couldn't agree more with your POV. Without rock and roll, young families don't stand a chance. Every time my daughter calls me Paul Stanley instead of Daddy I am filled with joy and pride, and all the more confident she'll enjoy the bright future she deserves.

jane dode
6.16.10 @ 9:42p

Love Led Zeppelin and Queen was good. I don't think Kiss or Alice had any talent...mostly showmanship..blah

jj freyermuth
6.18.10 @ 1:49p

Thanks Jeff and David for the posts.

I agree, David. No possible comparisons can be drawn between the talents of Queen and Zeppelin when compared to Kiss or Alice, but the showmanship taught me how to take on the stage in my own life for sure!

Jeff- I LOVE that your kid calls you Paul Stanley! Keep rocking!

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