How Bruno Mars Helped Me Become a Better Parent

Lessons From a Real Hooligan!

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 Bruno Mars XXIV Karat Magic Los Angeles Concert, November 2017

Last night my daughter and I went to the Bruno Mars concert in Los Angeles–it was everything! That young man is truly talented and reminds me so much of Michael Jackson around the time he moonwalked during the Motown 25th televised show. Bruno performs with the same intensity and passion. Aside from having great music, a good voice with range, and backup dancers and singers that take you back to the boy-band era, Bruno Mars feels the music and makes people enjoy it in a way that’s truly special, like mid-career Michael Jackson.

It’s probably important to note that Michael Jackson was my childhood idol. From “Blame it on the Boogie” and “Everybody” to “Lovely One” and “Beat It,” I knew almost every lyric, to every song, after first discovering him through the Off the Wall album (his best album, period). The childhood nostalgia came flooding back to me last night as Michael was my first concert and here I was with my daughter, at her first concert. It was incredibly special.

Naturally today, we are paying for it. My daughter was up and out last night much later than I’d anticipated and both of us are slower than normal. But it was worth it and a tremendous reminder to me to bend the rules occasionally and just enjoy my kids. And not just through big firsts like last night, but each day. Chucking the responsibility of managing the family schedule and making sure everyone does what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it, is necessary from time to time. I’m so happy I overlooked my daughter’s bedtime and initial concerns that the content would be inappropriate (an aside, there was a lot of cursing but if you’ve heard the album, you know as much and my kids have indeed heard the album. Judge me if you want but they now know which words they can use, and which they can’t). I’m glad that I let her have this fun experience. It’s one she (and I) will cherish for the rest of our lives.

It’s made me reminisce about the fun times I had with my family as a child and think about how I can continue to create more of these moments with my own family. One favorite thing we used to do when I was a kid was spending Friday nights watching The Dukes of Hazard and The Love Boat as a family while playing a two-deck card game called Continental (which is now known as Phase 10…why didn’t we think of making it into a branded game back then?). We were home, in our family room, all sitting around together and doing something fun. It didn’t cost anything. It didn’t take too much effort. It was simple and yet so powerful in terms of reaffirming I was part of a loving (and fun) family. It bonded us in conscious and unconscious ways and gave us each something important and precious and special, for life.

Our family game of choice these days is the board game Sorry! It’s great for the ages of my kids and yet still fun for adults too. And thanks to Bruno, I’m now recommitted to getting down on that floor, rolling the dice and getting around the little board to “home” before my kids do so that I can have bragging rights as often as possible (we’re a competitive family).

I can only hope that the time we spend playing this game, and others, is the beginning of creating the same positive memories I have from my childhood.

Thank you for that reminder, Bruno.

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