The basic story line of far too many kids movies and TV shows is that you have a kid who is some form of brat — yells at his mom, lies to his dad, is sullen because he has to visit his grandparents, etc. — and then over the course of the movie, he is transformed from rotten child (through the power of Barney or whatever) into a good-natured and/or happy kid. I don’t mind the ending, but I don’t like the bratty beginning. In addition to the near glorification of the bad behavior (since the brat is invariably the hero of the show who ends up saving the day), it seems also to reward the bad behavior rather than punish it. Take Home Alone as an example — Kevin is a bratty kid who is accidentally left behind while his family goes to Paris for Christmas, and he ends up saving his home from being robbed. The silver lining (aside from the fact that it is a hilarious movie and I enjoy watching it) is that he is at least punished for his brattiness early in the movie, by being sent upstairs for his rotten attitude. But too many movies don’t show the punishment, or (as in the case of Home Alone), the punishment is too mild for the “crime.”
I just don’t think that most kids, especially little kids, make the connection that the bad behavior early in the movie is really bad and ought to be punished, rather than emulated. It seems to me that movies should focus on “good kids” and rewardthem for their good behavior, rather than on the bad kids.
Another thing is that some movies tend to focus on other negative traits, and I am afraid serve to instill fear or anger or whatever in kids, rather than help kids work through it. Maybe I’m lucky, but my kids have never been afraid of monsters or of anything in their room with the light out (although I do have a nightlight). I also am particular about what they watch, trying to minimize the scary stuff if at all possible, and explaining things that might be potentially scary to young minds. But there are movies that portray kids who are terrified of monsters, and although everything turns out all right in the end, it still plants that seed of “maybe there’s something to be afraid of” in little kids’ minds. If a kid is already afraid, then maybe they need to watch the movie to see that there’s really nothing to be afraid of after all; but to take a kid who has no fear but is safe and secure, and show him that other kids his age are afraid of boogiemen, then it makes me think it will make him afraid when he wasn’t before.
That’s one thing I like about Thomas the Tank Engine — the engines are usually helpful and cheerful; and when they have a rotten attitude, bad things happen to them, and they see the error of their ways and apologize. But I’ve turned off some kids’ movies and TV shows because of the snottiness portrayed without swift correction. In fact, this post is inspired by “The Barney Movie” somebody handed down to my kids. I like to screen things before my kids see them, and the movie started off with a preteen boy acting sullen for having to visit his grandparents (I’m thinking this is what it is — I fast-forwarded the very beginning so missed it; he may be sullen because he had to move and leave his friends or something), and then segued into him grabbing his little sister’s Barney toy out of her hand and running through the house hiding so she couldn’t get it. My older son already teases my younger son as it is — he doesn’t need more advanced lessons in the art of teasing!! And I don’t want him thinking (especially at his young age) that there is something wrong with going to visit his grandparents (because he loves to take trips, particularly to see Grandma), nor that he can act sullen with impunity.
I’m not naïve enough to assume that if he never sees bad or negative or sullen that he will never be bad or negative or sullen. Quite the contrary — his heart is already bent towards “bad” so why encourage it?! I hope that by surrounding him with good influences that he will be less inclined to act according to his negative desires, but will be molded into Christian principles — by force of habit at this point, but paving the way for making it easier for him when he gets a new heart, by God’s grace. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
In the wake of the murder of notorious abortionist Dr. Tiller, some of my pro-choice acquaintances have given me some links as “food for thought” for why abortion should still be legal. The first story was a woman who had an abortion with wanted twins because one twin had died and the other was nearly dead, and her health was deteriorating very quickly as well (high blood pressure, no urine output, etc.). I consider her abortion to be life-saving, not merely health-saving, unless I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle. It was also carried out when she was 22 weeks along, so the chances of her baby even surviving were very small, so we’re not talking about third-trimester abortions that kill viable babies, which is what Tiller was infamous for.
The other blog post was the story of a woman who also killed her wanted baby after finding out that he had some sort of deformity that might kill him in utero, or soon after birth; and at the most, he might have a few years of life, with painful surgeries that would be necessary to extend his life, and his particular problem was such that the baby would have constant muscle spasms and be in pain. Let’s assume she was correct in this. She made it sound like her choice was a mercy killing, and even picked a Bible verse, “Do unto others…” as her reasoning behind it, saying that she wouldn’t want to be in pain, so that gave her the right to kill her baby. But what stood out to me is that she stated that his disease or deformity was such that he likely would be stillborn. So, no abortion would then be necessary, to save him from being born alive, right? Also, she said that he would have to undergo surgeries to extend his life. No, he wouldn’t. Parents choose all the time to withhold treatment from their children that have marginal benefits — and in fact, some doctors will refuse to perform surgeries or otherwise care for or treat babies they consider to be unable to be saved, and therefore not worth the effort. About a year ago, I read a blog of a woman whose baby had Down Syndrome, and also had a particular heart defect or two, and her doctor refused to operate on the baby, saying that it would not be worthwhile to perform the surgery that could save his life because the second defect also had a high death rate, and it was not curable by surgery. Well, God cured the baby — the other defect just went away, with no medical justification or reasoning; then the doctor performed the surgery (three months after the baby “should have” died). Doctors have also refused to resuscitate babies who are born with anencephaly, as another example.
So, going back to this woman — she killed her baby when he likely would have died of natural causes before ever seeing the light of day; and even if he had been born alive, he likely would have died very soon. My sister-in-law died of colon cancer several years ago, and although her case was terminal, if I had gone over to her house and “put her out of her misery” by killing her two days before she naturally died, I still would have been a murderer. I understand to some extent this mother’s feelings, because I wouldn’t want my child to suffer — I didn’t even allow my boys to be circumcised! But I still fail to see where anyone gets the justification to take an innocent person’s life — that belongs to God alone.
In case you want to know — I’m not glad Tiller is dead, and I think his murderer should be punished for his crime. We have a rule of law in the country, and we are not allowed to take justice into our own hands. This was the action of one nut-job, not indicative of the entire 160,000,000 pro-life people in this country. If you want to check out more reasons behind why Tiller’s death is bad for the pro-life movement, or if you want to get more information about Tiller and his replacement, or anything about abortion, you can check out Real Choice.