Brief Update & Movies

I am way overdue for a post…it’s hard to believe that over a month has gone by without a post. In June, I apparently got sucked into the vortex of summer/church life. Not a bad thing, but I have been a little weary after the last three weeks. Now on to some thoughts…

Discerning what movies you should let your children watch can be a difficult decision. The best case scenario is for the parent(s) to see the movie first and then determine if a child should see the movie. This is not always possible…may not even be close to possible (especially with movies just released in the theaters). So, what do you do?
Here are a few ideas:

1) Follow the rating guidelines generally. Allow younger children to see G; pre-teens to see PG; and teens to see PG-13. R-rated movies should be handled individually on their merit. That said, do not use the rating system as a way of avoiding the need to assess the content of a film or the maturity level of a child. Secondly, the ratings themselves are general and therefore may not tell you all that you need to know.
2) Research: read reviews and seek out info about the films your children are interested in. Every Friday, I get an email from Screenit that gives me a brief review, synopsis, and content break-down of the movies that are being released in the theaters or on video that week. More detailed information is available on their website, including the exact number of times cuss words are used (I have always imagined a guy with a clipboard in the theater keeping count…makes me laugh). Ransom Fellowship (publishers of Critique) also provides reviews of movies, but may have less info on content and more on meaning.
3) You can always use movies and the desires of your children to see certain movies as discernment exercises. Talk with your children both before and after a movie about what they want to see or what they have seen. In doing so, we have an opportunity to show how Christ and Christianity relates to all of life (beyond our mere categorization of culture).
4) Don’t be afraid to make a mistake…especially with teenagers. Letting them decide may help become better decision makers in the future. But, you have to be willing to follow-up without condemnation.

I will conclude by saying that I have learned to not make recommendations of movies. The things that strike me or bother me, may be different than what hits you (good or bad). I also don’t always have the same perspective. So, I don’t mind speaking about movies, including those I like or dislike, but don’t take it as recommendation.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Adam's mom on July 17, 2005 at 6:51 pm

    Adam grew up in an era with no ratings to guide parents and cable tv had superstations, but it was all still commercial tv where sponsors had control over content.
    We went to the movies often and if you ask Adam, I’m sure he’ll remember being sent to the lobby for snacks when I anticipated an upcoming scene that might not be suitable for him.
    I wish we had had the rescources available to parents now.
    There was even one movie his older brother never got to see the end of until he was grown and I got a phone call telling me he had finally seen the end.


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