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Everything I Teach My Kids I Learned from Prince Songs

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 08:  Prince performs onstage at The Hollywood Palladium on March 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for NPG Records 2013)
Image Source: Getty/Babble

It is with a heavy heart that we learned on April 21, 2016 that legendary artist Prince passed away at the age of 57 at his home in Minnesota. The icon had suffered a medical emergency on April 15 but had appeared at a concert just the next day, with sources telling TMZ that he was battling the flu. His cause of death is not yet known.

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Listening to the radio with kids in the car means staying alert, ready to change the station at the first sign of expletive or inappropriate lyrics.

One day, frustrated and just wanting to enjoy some music unencumbered by this parental duty, I slid in an old Prince CD. “What’s this song about, Mommy?” they asked after each brilliant jam. And as I explained the messages behind each song, I realized, in addition to being one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, Prince is also a positive role model for children.

Granted, his music is full of sexual metaphors and explicit verses, but it’s all in how you interpret it, my friends. Here’s how I found myself explaining some of Prince’s greatest hits to my little ones.

“Purple Rain” 

Value your friendships. Say you’re sorry. Wish good things onto others. It is not OK to wish someone struck by lightning. It is OK to wish someone be showered with purple rain, no matter how toxic that sounds.

“Raspberry Beret”

There’s someone for everyone, baby. Even girls in goofy hats “walking in through the out door (out door)” can find love. He might be a slacker working in the five-and-dime but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

“1999” 

Life is too short to spend with non-purple-party-poopers. Funny thing is — I read in a magazine that Prince is a Jehovah’s Witness. Honey, if Prince ever comes to our house waving pamphlets, you must promise mommy you will say these words to him: “If you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knocking at my door.” Just make sure you get him to sign the pamphlet first.

“I Wanna be Your Lover” 

If a boy says he wants to be your mother, brother, sister, and lover … run. Run for your life, baby girl. He crazy. However, if you find yourself running right back to him, you are cuckoo times two and deserve each other. This is pretty much how I met your father.

“Cream” 

There is no greater motivational song, except maybe the one about confidence that Julie Andrews sings in The Sound of Music. “Cream” rises to the top, my love. That’s the good stuff. The fat. Work hard, give everything you do 100% and one day you’ll be fat too.  

“When Doves Cry” 

Music doesn’t have to be about romance and love, we can also express our pain and suffering through music. This is art. Prince had a troubled home life, and writing about it gave him some relief. Feel free to write a song about mommy’s tirade when you and your sister pulled that shit with the bubble solution. You’ll feel better. Then register it with ASCAP.

“Alphabet Street”

(Alphabet street is slang for oral sex? Wrong!) Alphabet street refers to the importance of education and the power of the pen. “Alphabet Street” represents school. And school is where you learn to “put the right letters together and make a better day.” (Or whatever, write a song about cunnilingus. Same same.)

“Sign o’ the Times” 

Horrible things have happened, my children. Phew! Good thing the ’80s are behind us!

“U Got the Look” 

This song is all about fostering a positive body image in young people. However, if you’re bold enough to stay at the club till closing time, remember that when those lights go up “everybody’s inspected.” And if you spent “an hour just to make up your face,” I guarantee your mascara has spread. Always leave 15 minutes before last call to avoid this embarrassing situation.

“Little Red Corvette” 

When you’re driving a car, which most definitely won’t be a little red corvette, but more like a used Honda Civic with a muffler issue, drive slowly. And when you park, don’t park sideways and take up two spots — that’s just rude. People won’t respect you for that.

“I Would Die 4 U”

Prince was texting before texting was a thing. So it’s old-fashioned. Get it? Enough already, start spelling out your words.

“Kiss”

Our culture is obsessed with youth, but Prince is not. “Women not girls rule my world.” Real men, like Prince, don’t like coy little girls. When you’re a woman, sweetie, be a strong woman. “Act your age, not your shoe size.” Unless we’re going with European sizes, then it’s perfectly fine to be a 37 1/2.

“Diamonds and Pearls”

Whether you give your jewels to a boy or a girl, doesn’t matter sweetie. “Love is the master plan.” This song is definitely about supporting gay marriage.

“Darling Nikki”

He actually says “masticating.” A respectable young woman named Nicole is MASTICATING a sandwich and reading a magazine (probably the New Yorker) in a hotel lobby (probably The Plaza). She invites someone who doesn’t have any sandwiches to her house. He keeps saying “grind,” because grinder is another word for sandwich. He really likes sandwiches. This song is about giving food to those less fortunate.

“Let’s Go Crazy”

When you find yourself unhappy with the status quo, honey, let your crazy out. This will most likely begin in high school and continue into college, if you’re following your mother’s track. There’s no guarantee letting your freak flag fly will change the world, because there are plenty of “elevators” bringing us down. But Prince seems pretty certain that you cannot take the crazy with you when you die. We should trust in him.

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