Our children cannot escape media!!
As a mom and a teacher of teens, I have to tell you that most of what media offers is crap—terrifying, humiliating, soul sucking, IQ lowering, demoralizing crap.
Nevertheless, what is on media is also woven throughout the fabric of our lives. Celebrating Independence Day last week helped me realize it’s okay. In fact, it can be celebratory, educational, inspirational, laughter inducing, memory making stuff. You see, while my kids enjoyed blowing stuff up, their celebration was not complete without partaking in our traditional patriotic movie time!
I first knew my oldest would be an actress when at 4 years old, she berated me consistently for not being able to recite all of the lines correctly from certain scenes of The Wizard of Oz and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
My second oldest was a sickly toddler. She had sky-high fevers. We would have to cool her down with cold wet rags. It was pretty awful for her, but she was always, without fail, calmed and comforted by one movie—Dumbo. The song Dumbo’s mom sings to comfort him become my baby’s nighttime lullaby.
My third daughter wasn't sickly, but she cried for the first 2 years of her life. Not colicky, just stubborn and serious. Her calming comfort came in the video of the Broadway musical Cats. We’re still not sure if she was terrified or mesmerized at Macavity's red eyes. But, hey, she quit crying for an hour, so…
Looking back, I can’t believe I let my little boy watch Lord of the Rings at 5 years old. That’s pretty violent stuff for a little guy. His dad actually let him miss a day of kindergarten to go see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Yep, that’s the one where Anakin kills all the younglings and then his wife. It was quite a graduation from his first favorite—Toy Story. And by favorite I mean that by age three, he embodied Buzz Lightyear and had a collection of action figures to rival Disneyland.
Even today, as my oldest introduces her toddler to Hollywood, we hold our movie traditions dear. Independence Day can’t happen without a viewing of 1776. Halloween can’t pass without Hocus Pocus. Christmas is decorated with every holiday clay animation film ever made. In fact, not too many dinner table conversations pass without someone quoting Galaxy Quest or The Sword and the Stone or SpongeBob or Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean, or even (to my deep disappointment) Anchor Man.
So maybe the ubiquitous media isn't all bad. Still, I do very often wish they’d get their faces out of their phones so they can actually experience life, or at least long enough to watch a good movie.
Here's a short movie for you. The clip shows what is probably her 500th viewing a favorite movie. We take our cinema seriously. BTW--we're beautiful criers, aren't we?