In modern day America there is a great deal of loud opinions out there. Critics who decide they are experts often tell parents how to raise their children, believing they know the family dynamic better than the family themselves. This very scenario happened once again as a humorous video of 8-year-old Kenyon Papen of South Dakota, went viral on You Tube.
Much like my family, the Papen family believes in having a sense of humor. It isn’t uncommon for them to play little pranks on one another. For them, laughter is a part of enjoying life.
As a frequent user of his mother’s IPad, Kenyon had been browsing Ebay for possibilities of cars that he and his father could work on fixing up together. When his mother Paula noticed he had been looking at a $50,000 Mustang before he had shut it down, she decided to make a little harmless joke out of it.
In a short-lived prank lasting under a minute, Paula asked Kenyon why he had purchased the costly car. Knowing that her son can sometimes react in an entertaining emotional manner, she filmed the incident, mainly for her son to later watch.
Believing his error was going to cause the family to have to shell out $50,000, Kenyon began to cry saying, “We’re going to have to sell everything! This is horrible!”
His little sister is heard in the background offering, “I’ll use my money to buy you a Hot wheels.”
His reaction was even more comical than Mrs. Papen had anticipated as her young son quickly did a 180 of two extremes, going from tears to laughter, after she assured him that he didn’t purchase the car.
It was near Christmas time and the family had been experiencing some cabin fever, as they had been inside passing the flu back and forth.
Knowing that Kenyon was relieved and doing fine after the little prank that was intended for some good humor, Paula posted the video on YouTube, like many others do.
Kenyon had learned his lesson that sometimes what we do on the internet can be for keeps, but never would the Papen family have guessed that their video would be a viral keeper in the media.
The video’s increasing popularity resulted in some harsh comments from You Tube users questioning Paula’s parenting, and giving her a difficult time in general.
Interestingly, never once did Mr. or Mrs. Papen raise their voice during the joke, or so much as even say anything about punishing their child. There was zero abuse involved, and he experienced less than a minute of tears over the matter. Those pointing their fingers in disapproval didn’t even acknowledge that his tears quickly turned to laughter, and that even Kenyon now finds the experience to be a funny one that taught him a valuable lesson.
Another additional thought on the matter is, Kenyon was looking at cars for him and his Dad to work on for a father-son project that Mr. Papen had announced. Hmmm…isn’t that just another sign that the Papen parents love their children, and value their time together?
In an exclusive interview, I got the chance to help this fine family set the record straight.
In response to the “parenting critics” Papen shared, “I didn’t post the video as a punishment. The fact is that he learned a valuable lesson while having a good laugh. My kids are very happy kids and they think I’m a good mom, that’s the only opinion I care about.”
Though the unexpected exposure has brought some negative words from You Tubers, the Papen’s have also heard from people with opposing views on the prank. They have received an outpour of support from those who truly know them, and those who simply appreciated the humor.
“I’ve had many people share stories of family pranks and how they really enjoyed the video. I grew up in a fun family of pranksters and I’m glad I can pass that down to my kids. It’s fun to hear other people’s stories and it’s nice to know that we have support out there amongst the critics! I’ve had several people tell me they think I’m a great mom, and that Kenyon seems like a wonderful kid. He truly is, so that’s always nice to hear,” said Papen.
What was Paula’s reaction when the video went viral?
“I honestly thought that you had to know us to really get the humor in the video. I couldn’t believe how fast the number of views was growing. I’m still a little shocked,” continued Papen.
I also got to address the feelings of the young “car purchaser” himself. The laid back 8-year-old acknowledged the good that came from the video.
“It was just funny and it was a good lesson for people on the internet. Plus I got a trip to New York!” said Kenyon who recently got to share his feelings on ‘The Today Show.’
In response to people bashing his family, Kenyon made it known that he loves his parents and they are the kind of family that enjoys laughter.
“They’re just fine. We do pranks on each other all the time. I throw bugs on my mom and I just splashed her with a cup of water yesterday. It was funny. I love them,” expressed Kenyon.
Kenyon also made it clear that he did learn a lesson, and that though he still goes on the IPad, his habits have changed.
“I’m more careful,” continued Kenyon.
Since the incident involved a Mustang, one can be led to assume that Kenyon is hoping that is the model of car that he and his father will be fixing up. Though the ‘Today Show’ gave Kenyon and his sister toy Mustangs after he and Paula’s appearance, the web sensation is still hoping for a real car.
“I would like an old Mustang or Camaro or a GTO,” concluded Kenyon.
Every family has their own unique personality and manner of communication. In my personal experience, a family that laughs together stays together, and tends to enjoy life to the fullest. The world would be truly brighter place if uptight people would simply learn to lighten up a little. I say Kudos to the Papen family for their “young at heart” sense of humor, and may they find just the right car to restore!