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Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Not All Bad...

Many parents these days avoid most forms of media for their children because of the negative influences. I agree that these days, this could be a wise choice. I know myself, I recently watched a movie just because it was on and it probably was a movie that was best left unwatched. Two weeks later I still have yucky images stuck in my mind as a result. This particular incident made me really realize how important it is to be very careful when selecting movies, especially for our children.

So many movies and TV shows have little of anything positive or redeeming about them. Most glorify intimacy outside of marriage, depict disrespectful children talking horribly to their parents, and fathers either absent or as some sort of goofy idiot. Not to mention horrible violence, foul language and dabbling in the occult.

Yes, all of this and more make it seem like a wise choice to avoid the media all together. But like most things in life, the media too can be redeemed for the good! I think the reason many of us are leery on what our children watch is because eventually the actions and behaviors on these shows, start to creep up in our own children. To some that may sound far fetched, but it's really not. I just witnessed last night first hand how easily this can happen, but in this case it was for the good!

I rented a movie on Netflix that was recommended based on previous rentals. I had never heard of it before, but was looking for a family film to enjoy with the kids this weekend as I had also ordered a heavy, not as enjoyable movie, for school purposes(Amistad)

We decided to watch the recommended film last night. At first I kind of cringed and thought the kids would find it too preachy as it was clearly a Christian film and like most Christian films, the message wasn't settle and the acting was horrible. Don't get me wrong, being a Christian myself I am thankful for Christian films to show my family, but sadly, often enough, the acting is substandard, the plots are predictable and they can get too preachy. The thing is, often they're preaching to the choir, and most non-Christians are not going to run out and rent or buy these movies.

The kids as expected started to complain that is was boring or stupid. Then something happened. They started really getting into it! I know one of them even cried in a highly emotional scene. By the time we were half way through, if one had to get up for some reason they insisted I pause it.

What impressed me was that about 3/4's of the way through, one asked me if we could start having a Bible study here at home for children! Both boys seemed to take to heart the lessons in this film. These are boys that are used to watching more worldly films with very little limits on their selections and yet they were enjoying this sappy film and most importantly taking the life changing lessons to heart.

This also got me thinking about not only my own children, but how we treat the youth and youth programs in our churches. Many use worldly gimmicks to attract and keep kids in their programs. Rock bands, overnight video game parties, etc..most youth groups are little more than entertainment, and the worlds entertainment at that. It is as if leaders don't think Gods word alone is enough to attract and keep youth. In this film, the man giving Bible studies did from time to time utilize games and object lessons to teach a truth, but they were totally wholesome and non-worldly. Of course in the film, it showed the kids responding positively. But MY kids responded positively! They want and long for something similar and are willing to try and provide that for their community themselves!

I will post more on that topic another time(youth groups) I mostly wanted to share how while we do need to be careful what we let our children(and ourselves) watch, I don't think we have to avoid all media all together. It can be used for the good. I think my kids learned more and were more inspired by this simple, preachy and poorly acted film then they have ever been in any Sunday school class or youth event.

If you're curious, this movie was The Secrets if Jonathan Sperry. It is available at Netflix.

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