You may be asked these questions after watching “The Lion King”

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Its never a bad idea to talk about the good, bad and evil sides of plot, characters and purpose of the movie you just watched with your kids.

Disney is rehashing, rebooting, resurrecting and recreating its all time loved movies with amazing hyperrealism, though which makes everything more intense. Especially the claw- and teeth-filled fight scenes can give goosebumps to bravest of  hearts . It is far too real looking,  the hyena circle, when Mufasa falls to death, they are much more menacing than in the original version.

Yet, I find it chockfull of good lessons and lots of talking points.  

It teaches great lessons about life, death, betrayal, friendship, fear, leadership and forgiving yourself.

There were few instances where I was uncomfortable like how to answer death and death by one’s brother, this bit was a little tricky. Not all teachable moments are enjoyable when you are answering to a naïve impressionable mind. But its better to clear your throat than muffle his/her innocent questions or park grim facts of life to be discussed later.

Here are few questions that I was shelled with after watching the Lion King, by my 6 years old, you might encounter or have encountered already. Here are the answers my little unsure always anxious mommy brain could unscramble.

Why did Scar kill Mufasa , he was his brother?

Not everyone is same. We have good people and bad people. Its sad when the bad people are our own people. At times we have to be kind with them and understand them. We should take stand and stick to the good we do. We should strive to be better each day and love our brothers and sisters. What Scar did was wrong. Together they could have been happier. It is wisdom to love each other.

Why Mufasa died?

( I really hate Disney for killing parents at starting of their stories and they leave parents jostling alone to answer scary questions)

Well , you see every creature’s life eventually comes  to end. Its sad that Mufasa was killed by his own brother. If he was not killed he could have lived a beautiful life with his son but then someday he would have to go. Like sun sets in evening, like flowers wither away, so does every creature. All go back to God from where they came. Bad things can happen but what is important is to always remember the good things parents tell.

Why Simba was so scared?

Its ok to be scared and feel bad about the things that happen. Its ok to cry. What is not ok is to keep crying. Its ok to feel fear but what is not ok is to run away and not even try things . We feel scared of our own shadow till we find out what actually causes a shadow. When we understand our fears and face them we become brave. We can always be better and braver than we think of ourselves.

 And yes the most important of all to talk about is – what is Hakuna Matata!”, that’s Swahili for “No worries for the rest of your days!”

Simba believed it was his fault that Mufasa was killed. Its important to come close to one’s feeling than to run away from them. Being happy, sad, angry, anxious, scared are natural feelings and natural reactions to the happenings outside. We should not hold them back to punish ourselves or others. There is no shame in being vulnerable. Feelings don’t define or reflect one’s character or strength.

“Don’t worry, be happy” is a good pursuit to get over but its should not deter and distract from holding on to the higher calling and purpose in life.

Hakuna Matata!

Ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries

For the rest of your days

It’s our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

 

Why I want mums to be concerned about Cartoons?

how i got successWhy do I write ToonyMum ?

I write because I have love-hate relationship with cartoons. This is a reason but not exactly what motivates me to dedicate a good morsel of my days’ time to dig my teeth into the role of toonymum with gumptions.

Professor Sean Brotherson of Oregon State University says:

“A child’s brain is like a house that has just been built. The walls are up, the doors are hung. Then you go to the store and buy electrical wiring, switches, a fuse box and other electrical supplies, you bring these supplies to the new house and set them on the floor. Will they work? Probably not. You first must string the wiring and hook up all of the connections. This is quite similar to the way our brains are formed.”

https://families.media/cartoons-and-young-children

Lets have a look at some statistics now –

In a research performed by the researcher Kayla Bois & Brad Bushman “Michigan University”, they summed up the cartoon content in our Children Schedules as follows:

2 – 5 years old children watch cartoon 32 hrs. Weekly.

6 – 11 years old children watch cartoon 28 hrs. Weekly.

And they stated that:

71% of 8 – 18 years old has a TV in their rooms.

53% of 7 – 12 years old has no parental monitoring for what being watched on TV.

51% of homes: TV is switched on most of time.

So they are neck-close and we cant avoid them.

And this –

“Children who consistently spend more than four hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight” (Ben-Joseph, 2016).

I like their funny hunky dory way and the ease with which a good message can be passed on in non-serious way.

There is lot which can be learned through them, I learned British way of English through Octonauts.

I too switch on the TV for the sake of it and when I need “me-time

Having said this all there is still a lot we can do to control & monitor what flows in.

………and this is why I write toonymum to give  heads up for what is wrong and how can we deal with it.

I want to paddle across following messages to all children and all mums & dads-

1.       Cartoons are fun but fun that is laced with some wisdom and learnings is worth sitting for hours but fun which is surrogacy for violence or vulgarity is what we have to guard ourselves.

2.      Young minds are too subtle to process, funnel & filter what is shown to  in vibrant, dazzling colours, so listen to  mum & dad.

3.      Don’t – Don’t make cartoons your idol or role model, discover your original self and stay unique.

4.      Don’t trust any product just because your favorite toon character is selling that. Read labels, compare cost.

5.      Go out and meet real people more because to fight evil & wrong you don’t have to resort to kicks & punches, use wit & wisdom.

6.      Anything that does not require to flex your mind muscle, is not worth wasting hours. The more you use your brain the better it will get ….. so play games, no not on screen !

7.       Question everything, why, what and how of things you watch and discuss with elders.

8.      Watch you age recommended cartoons. Why ? because you don’t eat grown up’s medicines too.

9.      Remember the good message, because stories help in later life to build perspective and improve understanding , like what Tex said in Cars  “There is whole lot more to racing than just winning” or what Peter Pan said – “All it takes is little faith and trust”incredibles

10.   Research says -Thinking and imagination are of the most factors that affect the functionality of the brain till the age of 12. The early years are important. Don’t feed your mind with junk!

 There was a wise man who said till boat floats on water it is good but when water enters the boat, it drowns.

Choose wisely what you watch.

 

Yours sincerely

ToonyMum

How I Finally Got Success In Limiting The Screen Time Of My Overindulgent Daughter?

Toony Mum

Much to my chagrin, my husband bought an iPad for my daughter on her second birthday. As if the non-stop cartoon network wasn’t enough! I was then working in a 9 to 6 job and my daughter was taken care of by her grandparents – who, if you know Indian grandparents – were raining their mushy slushy love for their grandchild by allowing her to do things ‘her’ way. My weekends were usually spent on running errands. The end result was that my 2-year-old was becoming an expert in video games and a walking encyclopedia on cartoons.

I swear I’m not exaggerating. I’ve had several moments of uneasiness listening to her impeccable knowledge on cartoon genealogy when I wouldn’t even know my great grandfather’s name. My smiles at her gaming feats would diffuse into thin air when she would throw tantrums and make a terrible racket as soon as the…

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How cartoons affect gender development?


81bVXDLeImL._SX425_My fast growing up seven years old has started to question my ‘objections and affections’ for her cartoons. Recently she has built strong liking for a cartoon series Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. Once I was watching it with her and  I saw something that was caught up by my ‘picky mom radar’.

First let me tell you why I am going to write against it and then I will tell you the answers I am going to give to my daughter who has been demanding an explanation as to ‘why am I discouraging her to watch it’. She is really annoyed. I am hopeful, I can reason out that with her.  

For the benefit of those who don’t know about this cartoon, let me just quickly walk you through the plot. There is one female superhero and male superhero named Ladybug and Cat Noir respectively. There is lots of action, creative thinking and teamwork but the problem is somewhere in between I have strong objections to the stereotypical presentation of the female lead. Why the best effort to break gender stereotype ends up doing something altogether the opposite?. I find her terrible -terrible example for young minds that shows ‘ girls want to be kissed’ , ‘going weak in knees’ in front of charming boys. It’s a show about ‘obsession’. Noir who is otherwise a shy and reserved guy becomes a flirt when he is Cat Noir.

The other problem I have with this show is sexualized presentation of the lead character. Tight clothes are okey because then how would she make moves and overpower the evil guy. The focus is wrong. The focus is more on her pelvic region and less on her face. At the onset, you see her buttocks and then she turns to give a full look. She is all the time drooling over Cat Noir and often fall short of fulling her superhero duties while going weak in knees in her ‘obsession’ ‘s presence. This show runs in domain of gender stereotyping that girls  –  run after boys.

If this is what being served daily to tender eyes, how will they see the world and themselves?

Lets talk about some other cartoons, our own very brave Chota Bhim. He is the one taking leads in all problem while the only female character out of other six characters – Chutki is seen exhibiting ‘female appropriate emotions’, praying for Bhim’s victory and offering him Laddoos.

Nobita & Shin Chan’s moms who are homemakers, are shown as rude, irritated and loud women. Shizuka despite having good grades and intelligent sincere mind wants to be a ‘ good house wife’. Wow !

At times I ponder over why is that women take backseat and understate their own needs and desires or why they think they are insignificant because they are conditioned to see themselves as ‘insignificant’. There are quite a number of cartoons which show that one of the two genders is dominant and important  while the other is insignificant and always in need of protection. One should not display sadness and fear, and the other should not displays anger and aggression.

 

 

 

The Frog Prince – retold!

frog-1591896_960_720When a kid in kindergarten gets work, it’s not the kid who gets the work, it’s we – the parents who get work. It’s our comprehensive ability at test. So when my ‘daughter’ received homework on learning and understanding the moral of the story ‘The Frog Prince’, it was inevitably I at work.

The best I could decipher, I wrote. “It’s a story of a princess who is fooled by a manipulative frog to free him from a curse.”

The next day, I found a red mark slanting deftly across the paragraph I had written with a one liner penned with much annoyance and haste at the bottom of it –

“That which thou hast promised must thou perform.”

With all sincere apologies to Grimm Brothers, I want to retell this story.

Instead of running amok perplexed and letting her father cajole her to give in to the demand of a stalker frog, the princess could have made a different choice. Yes, that tiny green, slimy amphibian stalked her around the palace until he landed on the royal dining table to cry foul.

Anyway, before I tell you ‘how it could have been’, let’s quickly recap the original tale.

“IN OLD times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face…”

So begins the old fairy tale ‘The Frog Prince’.  It is the story of a princess who was playing with her golden ball near the palace. The ball slipped from her hand and fell into the well. She started crying. Hearing her cry, a frog crocked, “Princess if you let me eat from your plate, sleep on your bed and kiss me, I can bring your ball.” A talking frog!

In the evening, the princess was dining with the king when a soldier brought the frog into the dinner room. “The princess has broken her promise” the frog croaked. Quickly, he told the king all that had happened.” The king said –“That which thou hast promised must thou perform. Get him in.”

Though the princess was disgusted, she let the frog eat from her plate. Later, she reluctantly took him to her room and placed him in a corner. The frog however, hopped onto her bed. Furious, she threw him at the wall. The frog lay motionless. Ashamed of her action, the princess picked up the frog, placed him on her bed and kissed him. Immediately the frog transformed into a handsome prince. “Thank you, princess,” said the prince. He told her that a witch had made him a frog for refusing to marry her. Soon, the prince and the princess were married.

 As if the marriage was the panacea of all their worries in the world!

Hopefully – they lived happily ever after.

In exchange of a ball, a frog smartly manipulates a princess to promise him a dinner and a kiss. The princess knows it’s crazy and tries to save herself from keeping those ‘forced-commitments’. My issue is, why was a girl’s ‘No’ not enough? The frog had his way foxily. A girl is an instrument in the story through which a prince can regain his lost form. She is tricked into making weird commitments and then conscripted by her own father to keep them in the name of integrity.

It will not be out of place to recount a case I handled during my career as HR and a reporting point for sexual harassment cases in the organization. I asked the girl the reason for reporting it so late. She had been facing indecent overtures from her fellow colleague. She said that she was confused because the guy had been very helpful to her. He helped her in her projects and went out of the way to get things done for her. So, she owed him! In the barter, he was taking liberty in making sexual overtures.

Now what could possibly be different in the story – The Frog Prince?

Here I go:

Once upon a time there was a king. He had three daughters, whom he loved equally. The youngest of them was witty and brave. One day she was playing with her golden ball in the lawn by the pool. The ball slipped off from her hand and fell in the pool. She was thinking how to get it back when a frog jumped out of the pool. He was a talking frog!

The frog said, “I can take out the ball for you.”

The princess said, “O great! Please do.”

Frog said, “But you will have to promise me that in exchange of the ball you will have to let me eat from your plate, sleep on your bed and kiss me.”

The princess realized that was a freaky frog. She asked, “What is your problem, frog? Be realistic.” Frog was adamant and so was the princess. She said at last, “Ok you stay there I will get it myself.” She dived into the pool and got the ball. Drenched, the water dripping off her cloth in the puddle at her feet, she sat at the brink of the pool. The frog was sad. She asked him, “Why are you so strange?” The frog then narrated his story of how a witch transmogrified him into a frog. The princess felt sad for him but it was not easy for her to trust him as he had just tried to trick her into kissing him.

The princess scooped him up in her palm and planted a kiss on him. He transformed back into a prince. The prince was happy. He proposed her for marriage.

The princess said, “We don’t know enough of each other yet.” And she walked back towards her palace.

Her eyes had a gleam, her feet were light and her heart was brimming with pride and happiness.

Such a generous, witty and brave princess surely lived happily ever after.