Let your children know what is right about them
When we asked these parents whether their were aware of their appreciation, they often looked blank. It seems that praise for helpful behavior doesn't come readily. Most of us are quick to criticize and slow to praise. We have a responsibility as parents to reverse this order. Our children's self-esteem is too valuable to be left to chance or entrusted to strangers. You may have noticed yourself that the outside world doesn't rush in to offer praise. When is the last time another driver said to you, "Thank you for only taking up one parking space. Now I have room for my car"? Our efforts to be cooperative are taken for granted. One slipup, and con-demnation is swift. Let us be different in our homes.
Let us realize that, along with food, shelter, and clothing, we have another obligation to our children, and that is to affirm their "rightness." The whole world will tell them what's wrong with them—loud and often. Our job is to let our children know what's right about them.
When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well. Naturally, the sexy ones are probably those you remember most, but the formula worked for all types of images. Photos of kids dressed up like adults, dogs wearing clothes, ad copy that didn’t make any sense—all high-valence, viral images. If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages. Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.