There is something that has been weighing on my mind for a while now - and subconsciously I suppose I have been responding to the urge to make a change. As my children have grown, I've become increasingly aware of the objectionable content we are unwittingly, and sometimes un-willingly, exposed to, and the refrain has been:
If I protect my children from these images and ideas, how good are they for my own soul, development and moral compass?
Because of a changing value system, first I cut out most TV; then I started watching documentaries and educational videos for movie-based entertainment, instead of the latest Box-Office hit. Even the old songs I used to love have taken a turn for the worse, as I have begun to listen more closely to the words and kept my kids in mind.
There are many good patriotic and upbeat country songs out there. While listening to the radio the other day, I noticed my boys singing happily along to a song telling young ladies to "shake it to left/ shake it to the right/ come on, baby, you know what I like..." It was the unfortunate end to Country music radio in the house.
I'm not as prudish as I sound (though far more so than others are, I suppose) - if a song has innuendo, but is written by someone who is married and (ostensibly) the song is sung with the singer's wife in mind, I'm okay with that. Even the Bible has the Song of Solomon. But even Jeff has stopped listening to the 80s songs he used to that talk about wanting to be with someone other than the guy's wife (Run to You, anyone?) I DO still watch or listen to some things that my children are not developmentally ready to process yet (some war-based movies, for example,) but it really does have me taking my standards to a higher level.
I've kept a close eye on what my children watch and are exposed to, whether via screen or simply in the print ads we see as we walk around stores and malls. I've tried to keep them engaged in a running dialogue about what they see and their opinions and impressions of those ads and magazines. We have talked about the intent behind those images as well.
In the process, I've cut back on the range of shows I watch even further. I watch inspiring shows like Heavy; shows that might give me ideas on how to better manage my life with five children, like 17 Kids and Counting; documentaries and biographical shows.... I still have a few of my kitschy faves: Doctor Who will stay with me for a long time, I think and I am looking forward to maybe another Bones one day. But not too long ago, I tried watching the Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood, and the ideas presented were not ones that I would be comfortable watching with my children alongside, and some of those same ideas and images have begun to make me uncomfortable as well.
This even goes to shows like The Lion King. A few weeks ago, Maestro's scout patrol went to see Lion King in 3D. It was the same old show I had seen when it first came out, but this time, I noticed more details in the overall message, more message in the imagery. The messages I saw were not as harmless as I thought when I was a child - indeed, I didn't even notice those messages when I was younger. It's amazing how having someone else's best interests in mind changes one's own ideas.
The argument has been made that I am an adult and so should watch whatever I want to,
but how is it that something can be so bad for my children and yet uplifting and edifying for me as an adult?