By David Outten, Art Editor
I live in a house with four generations. The ages range in from three to 86 years old. As you can imagine, the choice of what to watch on the living room television is problematic. This is compounded by the presence of three computers, an iPad, and four cell phones. If, on a rare occasion, a single movie is found acceptable by all six residents, you can almost bet there will be phone calls, emails, or text messages that seek to distract the event.
Imagine being a family in a little house on the prairie (before electronic media). Different family members might want to read different books, but I imagine family members actually talked to one another more.
I’ve lived through a couple of major storms where my house lost electricity for days at a time. There was no television, no computers, and even cell phone batteries ran out. We got to know neighbors with whom we’d never spoken. It’s amazing how much more talkative you can be when the power goes out, and the media quits talking “at” you.
The greatest threat of media-inspired discord is in actual media messages.
The media content in music, movies, and programs offers radically opposing worldviews. Family members influenced in opposite directions can wind up clashing. Typically, a teenager, influenced by media popular with teenagers, will drift away from parents with more traditional values. When the distance becomes substantial, arguments can become heated.
From a young age, children should learn to discern media messages. If parents will watch programs with young children and discuss the messages presented, comparing them to biblical moral standards, children will learn to appreciate the good and reject the bad. If a parent explains what’s wrong with the bad early in a child’s life, that child will grow up with that awareness.
Parents should be as concerned about their children’s media choices as they are a child’s choice of friends. If you wouldn’t want your child hanging around with drug dealers, you shouldn’t want your children listening to drug dealer music. It’s not enough just to say, “You can’t listen to that.” A child needs to understand in the core of their being why they shouldn’t.
People make choices based on their “worldview.” If you impart to your children a clear Christian worldview, they will be repulsed by offensive media. If a child is raised with a half-hearted “Christian” worldview, they will not be prepared, or willing, to defend it. Your own choice of media tells your children what your worldview is. If you watch movies and programs with low moral standards, you can’t expect to impart high moral standards to your children.
The key question to ask about media, about your children and about yourself is, “Why is this being said or done? Is it to obey God and do what’s good and right, or is it in opposition to God?” The heart of a Christian worldview is simply, “God I believe You want what’s best for me. Help me do your will.”
To help your children develop media wisdom and a Christian worldview, please read THE CULTURE-WISE FAMILY by Movieguide® Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr and legendary entertainer Pat Boone.