I hope you get the idea from reading this blog that I love movies. I am developing multiple lists of movies to share with my children someday. When I was a kid I remember being exposed to several powerful movies for the first time. I was inspired by some of them and some of them haunt me until this day. My mother and I joke now but when I was eight years old I first watched Platoon (1986). Although a fantastic Oscar worthy film, most would agree it’s hardly one to introduce to an eight year old. To this day mom keeps apologizing about that, which makes me laugh and I then remind her that I turned out just fine. As that semi-innocent eight year old, I dreamed of being a soldier. I think she felt that me watching Platoon would provide some perspective about what the military could look like. Yep, after a couple of hours of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam, that was enough for me to abandon that ambition. (Thanks mom?)
Like anything in culture, each person has their own filter in what they are able to absorb. We can be molded by the world so I have become quite self-conscious on how my worldview is formed. It is a reminder that the world can be scary. I’m a parent now and my wife and I are trying to figure out what our kids should absorb when it comes to education and entertainment. Recently my kids (2 and 3) and I were watching Aladdin and it is one of the darkest kids movies I’ve seen. In fact, most Disney movies are like that I’ve noticed. I recently read about The Top 26 Most Disturbing Kids Movies by Babble.com. Is your young child watching one of these? My wife has usually been the wise one to ask the question,
“Should the kids be watching this?”
In your mind you think that it is a great movie about heroes, villains, and a family uniting to save the world. What is wrong with that? Wait…but they hit and the even (gulp), kill the villain.
The tension is strong because we don’t just want to expose our kids to just fairy tales. We want them to be inspired but also see what real life looks like. One of my favorite Christian thinkers and commentators of culture is Phil Cooke. In his recent blog, The Change Revolution he noted,
After all, if we filmed the Bible, much of it would be R-rated, and occasionally worse. The Bible doesn’t gloss over real life and God apparently wasn’t afraid to tell real, authentic stories. I think the culture would respect our message much more if we stopped producing just cheesy, G-rated films and started telling gritty stories about real life.
Should we sugar coat life?
My check as a parent now is questioning “what, when, and why” I should introduce when it comes to entertainment, learning, etc. Most parents would agree that the book To Kill a Mockingbird has a life-changing message that every child should read. But I’m challenged to rethink when the girls are ready for such an important message. Most importantly, I am are challenged to pray for the wisdom to figure this out on a daily basis. Romans 12:2 cautions us to never forget that we must go ultimately to God for this discernment.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What was the most disturbing movie you first watched as a kid?
If you are a parent, how do you filter what you share with your kids?