Monday, October 31 2016 21:20

Can Our Children Learn from Monsters?

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THE ROCK FATHER is sharing some thoughts on #KindMonsters in partnership with Mattel’s Monster High...

Over the years, there’s been a lot of discussion about popular culture as a reflection of the world around us. One aspect of that has often been explored within the realm of monsters - the characters and legends of literature and film. For the latter, horror movies are a genre of entertainment that in itself is one of the most heavily influenced by, and also reflective of the society of the times. Right now, there’s a movement taking place that’s hidden in plain sight, and some parallels can be drawn between it and those films, with monsters at the core. It’s a movement that can help families open up some teachable moments, inspiring kids to learn timely lessons about inclusion and celebrating the differences in our friends. Electrified and reinvigorated with energy rivaled by only that of Dr. Frankenstein himself, Monster High is taking on a new class.

Frankie Stein

When Mattel first launched Monster High back in 2010, our oldest daughter (Addie) was only a year old, and our youngest (Finley) was another two years away from creation. At 7 and 4, they missed a lot from the first six years of Monster High, but as Addie took interest in the movies over the past year (thanks to Netflix), thus bringing little sister into the fold, it’s sorta perfect that some new students have been invited to Monster High this fall - a way to inspire a new generation of kids who maybe weren’t quite old enough when the action got started. With the new movie, WELCOME TO MONSTER HIGH, audiences now have a definitive origin story (one that new fans can really latch onto), and a matching line of dolls and playsets that present some familiar characters in a new back-to-school look, and a renewed message of acceptance and kindness. Remember what I said about being a reflection of the times…

Frankie out for a bike ride...

2016 is a different place than 2010, and our kids are being faced with an increasing barrage of… junk from all angles. Too much screen time, too little recess, too much homework, not enough time to engage in imaginative play and just let kids be kids. Factor in all the external conflict that they’re picking up on, and as parents we really have to be mindful of the messages that they’re processing. It’s okay to be different. No matter what your culture, color, background or fashion sense, it’s totally cool - and it’s pretty awesome to have friends from all over. We don’t push people away or build walls to keep them out - we welcome them and give them a chance… just like Monster High.

Finley and Clawdeen Wolf

Draculaura may have a really famous vampire as a dad, but that doesn’t mean that Clawdeen Wolf can’t be a friend (despite centuries-old rumors that vampires and werewolves don’t mix). Lagoona Blue just transferred to Monster High from the Great Scarrier Reef, but that doesn’t stop her from making fast friends with Cleo de Nile - an Egyptian Princess who’s not always the easiest to get along with.

Clawdeen Wolf

I recently asked Addie to tell me “What is Monster High about?,” and she answered that “it’s about solving problems and being good friends” - something that’s true across their stories, and at her age, my wife and I are pleased to see that being noticed.

At the big Dance...

As we close the books on Halloween and enter the Holiday season, I figure there’s more Monster High on the horizon, and with new dolls like the recent Zomby Gaga collaboration with Lady Gaga and the Born this Way Foundation, I look forward to seeing our girls welcome new students into their collection as they continue to learn the qualities of bravery, kindness and inclusivity that will help them in the real world as they grow-up.

Addie playing Monster High

All kids act like “monsters” on occasion, but if we can turn them into #KindMonsters overall, that will be a howlingly-good win.

Learn more at MonsterHigh.com, and follow along the freaky-fab fun with the ghouls here.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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