Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show is expected to feature Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Eminem – an eclectic mix of rappers not known for their family-friendly lyrics or quiet melodies.
My friend and colleague Adam Holz, who heads up our Plugged In team, observed:
“It’s funny to me that these aging rap and hip-hop artists are somehow being promoted as family-friendly fare, when much of the content of their catalogs is anything but. I think we tend to attribute wisdom or maturity to musicians who are older, but I’m not sure that a response like that is really warranted here.
“In the case of Kendrick Lamar, he’s of a younger generation and has grappled with some tough issues—including God’s role in his life—in his music. But like much of rap, there’s a lot there that’s pretty problematic, too. With all of them, I suspect they’ll either be censoring their own music or being subjected to network bleeps, because there’s a lot of profanity mixed into many of these musician’s songs.”
We’ve come a long way from the first Super Bowl halftime show in 1967 featuring marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State. During that inaugural outing, the collegians played, among other selections, the theme song from “The Sound of Music” and the patriotic classic, “This is My Country.”
Over the years, artists and entertainers have included Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Up with People, Tony Bennett, U2 and even the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
And, of course, Janet Jackson.
Music and art are subjective, of course, and what turns my crank may very well not turn yours. But since it’s safe to say that most families with young children, along with plenty of adults, will have no interest in this year’s rap fest, here are a few suggestions on how to spend those thirty plus minutes between halves:
- Watch Some Old Home Movies: Life moves quickly. The kids are growing (or grown!), and sometimes looking back provides us with perspective and a newly found sense of appreciation for our many blessings.
- Go for a Walk: It might be dark and even cold out there, but you’ve already had too many snacks in the first half. Moving around and getting some exercise might help you make room for more in the second. You can never get too much fresh air.
- Play a Game: Whether UNO, Trivial Pursuit or Twister, games can educate and entertain – and sometimes at the same time.
- Encourage Your Kids to Put on Their Own Halftime Show: Have a budding singer or musician in the family? Have each of the children prepare a piece and have them perform it during halftime. Trust me – it will be much better than what’s on television.
- Read a Story: Especially for parents with young children, pick up a few books and read them aloud. Children of all ages enjoy a good story. It was Dr. Seuss who once wrote: “You’re never too old, too whacky, too wild – to pick up a book and read to a child.”
- Watch a Classic TV Show: From the Waltons to the Andy Griffith Show, many of the old programs contain ageless pearls of wisdom. “Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers,” said Deputy Barney Fife. “I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.”
- Listen to an Adventures in Odyssey Radio Program: At just under 30 minutes, engaging in the “theater of the mind” will spark your child’s imagination and provide you and your family with a great lesson to chat about.
- Eat Dinner Together: Turn off the television, and head for the dining room or kitchen table for a good old fashioned Sunday supper. Have each person contribute to the meal.
- Just Talk! Conversation is the great elixir of life. Talking trivia (weather, sports) is its lowest form. Discussing people is somewhat richer; but chatting about ideas is the best type of conversation of all. Plan ahead and write out some topics on a piece of paper. Draw the slips and open the floor for discussion.
Football fans are hoping for a good and competitive game with an outcome remaining in question to the final minute. We can’t control the quality of play on the field – but we can manage our choice of entertainment during halftime.
Just remember the words of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: “Garbage in, garbage out. What’s down in the well, comes up in the bucket.”
Photo from Twitter.