“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
What are your thoughts on television and movies? Do you limit screen time for your kiddos, or are you more flexible about what and how much is viewed in your home? I know this, like all things, can be a tricky topic to tackle and opinions run rampant, but it is an area worth thinking proactively about. It is so easy to allow certain channels to play without any real thought because we deem them “safe” or “educational.” The reality is that no channel and no movie is actually safe without our parental screening.
In my home, we do not have cable. Aside from HGTV, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and Fox News, I do not miss the picture box. We chose to give up this aspect of our lives nearly five years ago, and it has been a blessing in more ways than not. Financially, it is a cost we cannot justify, and there was more trash than treasure floating across our screen than we saw fit to pay for. I am not saying everyone should give up cable—I am saying it is reasonable to discern what is of value and what is clutter in our lives and decide from there.
When our first son was born, I was very “granola” and was passionate about everything from breastfeeding to baby wearing and even attachment parenting. I knew with certainty he would not eat GMOs, he would think an apple was a cookie, and a television would not be encountered until he was old enough to no longer have interest. Ha. Well, as successful as I was with my initial list of priorities, I failed miserably in the media department when I became pregnant with my second. Somewhere in the middle of the exhaustion and nausea, the television entered into the life of my sweet little boy. Since we do not have cable, his options were/are limited to PBS or Smile of a Child. I am not the biggest fan of PBS, but we quickly embraced a couple of programs and on we went. After our second son was born, my thoughts on television and viewing time grew a bit more lax, and my boys saw their first movie—and second—and now they have seen them more than I ever would have dreamed a few short years ago. I am trying to give myself grace in motherhood and recognize that not all things are bad, but how we approach them can lead to poor decisions.
Where am I going with this? I am so glad you asked! I took my oldest guy to his first movie in a theater last month. For $3, we were able to sit in an air conditioned room with comfy seats and spend time with friends. Bennett (my 3-year-old) was so excited, and it made my heart smile to see him so happy. Before we went to the movie, I checked to see what was showing, and it was “Penguins of Madagascar“. I can honestly say the movie content was really good, and there was nothing I felt needed addressing from a moral perspective. Since that experience went so well, I almost let my guard down and took him to another movie last week. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit stepped in and reminded me I needed to guard and protect the hearts of my children and it is “from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery” (Mark 7:21). Our children do not have the ability to make strong biblical and moral decisions without our guidance. What they see, hear, touch, and do will inevitably impact and shape their hearts. When we allow what the world and pop culture deems “safe” for our children to have greater prevalence than what the Holy Spirit speaks to us as believers, we are setting ourselves up for a perilous path.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8
What measures do you have in place to protect yourself and your children from certain movies and television shows? Knowing we cannot be all places at all times, and we do not always have the ability to watch everything beforehand, it is worth our time to research. You may already know about Dr. Ted Baehr and Movieguide, but if not, I would encourage you to utilize this excellent resource. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Baehr on a handful of occasions, and he is incredibly insightful and purposed in his ministry to families. Another wonderful resource is PluggedIn, a part of Focus on the Family. PluggedIn aims to “shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate, and impact the culture in which they live.”
While no ministry, friend, or pastor replaces the role of the Holy Spirit in your life, they are often the very people the Lord uses to speak truth to us as we seek to make wise decisions for our families. Hopefully, if we all guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus and be diligent to recognize that we have a real enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, we can stand firm and certain in the choices we make—choices which will often look very different than those of many we call friends. And maybe one day, those friends and family will no longer see our choices as strange, but possibly embrace them for their families, too.
Rooted in Him,