Why David Bowie's Death Is Devastating for Our Kids

My kids hugged me before they left for school today and said, "I'm sorry about David Bowie." It's such a sad, tragic loss. An icon has died. But what makes it even sadder is that our kids have nothing that can compare, no rock stars that can even match the scope and talent and amazing innovation of someone like David Bowie. 


I grew up on David Bowie. My parents were huge fans, and I can remember listening to "Space Oddity" so loud the walls of our house shook. My father, Tom, would introduce himself to any kids who came over for a playdate as "Major Tom." My mom was pregnant with me when she saw David Bowie. My husband and I saw him together. My sister is so heartbroken she can't even answer her phone today. For the millions of Bowie fans of the world today, our hero has died. 

But what do our kids have besides our playing them Bowie songs and teaching them about his music? What musicians today whom our kids idolize will have as much of a cultural impact as Bowie? Who? Bieber? The members of One Direction? Lady Gaga? But she is mainly just aping Bowie. 

As much as I love Kanye West, he isn't as innovative as Bowie was, and he doesn't act or paint or write books. 

There will never be another Bowie. Our kids will never have anything as groundbreaking as listening to Young Americans for the first time. 

I know I sound really old right now, one of those people shaking their fists and saying, "You kids with your music today, back in my day we..." -- but I can't help it. We are all getting older. Soon it will be Mick and Paul and Bruce and Elton who join David, these cultural heroes who shaped who we grew up to be. 

I feel bad for kids these days; they don't have anyone who can compare, who has such a groundbreaking, widespread impact on so many facets of art and life. I guess it's our jobs as parents to dust off Aladdin Sane and take them to school. 



Image via © Michael Sohn/AP/Corbis

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