Taylor Swift is coming to New Zealand! This has led to a whole new round of discussion in our house. Because our 5-year-old is Taylor Swift mad, and has been since before she was 2. And going to a Taylor Swift concert would just blow her mind. Owen would love to take her; I’d love to see her face when she realizes Taylor Swift is a real person!
However, the point of our discussions is not which of us is going to take her, it’s whether 5 is too young for a concert. I maintain that it is. Owen thinks there’s nothing wrong with it.
The funny thing is that it’s a moot point. Our household scrapes by on a weekly basis, as we have chosen that our priority is to have one parent home with the kids. And my salary is definitely not at the higher end of the scale. So taking a 5-year-old to a concert is not something that’s going to happen this side of the single-salary experience! And yet, the debate continues.
I took Ruby to The Wiggles about 2 years ago and that was amazing – and she loved it. But I’d be hard put to argue that she wouldn’t have felt the same way if I’d just taken her to a movie (which, these days costs almost as much as a flipping concert, and, yes, I do know I’m showing my age when I start ranting on about the cost of movies! Seven dollars. Seven. That’s what they used to cost in my day! On the expensive nights. But I digress).
Admittedly, I was a little socially … erm … deprived … as I too grew up in a household with very little money, with 4 kids plus hangers on, and anyway, it was 30+ years ago and NZ didn’t have concerts back then. Or maybe that was just what my parents told me! So I was about 18 when I went to my first concert. I know … that’s just embarrassing, but it was amazing! The lights! The sound! The atmosphere! The excitement! And that’s what I think concerts should be like. A fantastic new experience that you remember for a long, long time, if not the rest of your life! They shouldn’t be something that you start going to when you’re 5 and by the time you’re 16 they’re old hat and you’re looking for something new and far more exciting.
If they’ve ‘been there and done all that’ when they’re in their early teens, what’s next? Is that where the drugs and the drink and the sex come in? The next big excitement?
Ok, so I’m not advocating that concerts should be R20 … my particular experience was perhaps a little extreme and ridiculous! And I’m certainly not maintaining that 5-year-olds who go to concerts end up doing drugs when they’re 14. But I would expect that a 14- or 15-year-old would be heading off, flushed with huge excitement, to their first concert. Or am I just terribly, horribly old fashioned and my teen-to-be is going to teach me some hard lessons in the next decade or so?
But my kid (whether I like it or not, let alone whether she likes it or not) is going to attend her first concert when she has enough cash to buy the ticket for herself (ok, we might chip in for half of it if she looks at us with enough tears in her eyes and the performer is so old he or she probably won’t be around by the time my eldest can save up enough for the outrageous price of tickets [there I go again!]). So for now I’m going to stick to ‘you’re not old enough and we can’t afford it’! Actually, for the moment, I’m going to stick to ‘yes, that’s a poster of Taylor Swift’ and not mention the word ‘concert’ at all. That should work until she learns to read. Next week.