Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Begin rant...

Two articles in the newspapers gave me pause this morning. Both bothered me because of the picture they paint about our culture's influence on very young children.

The first article in the Wall Street Journal was about the TV show Fear Factor. Since I'm not much into eating bugs, (even though I did a joke page about eating cicadas), I was going to skip the whole article but decided to scan it. To my disgust, I read that it was ranked #3 in most-watched shows by children ages 2-11! What I wouldn't give to be a Nielsen household and skew those ratings.

The second article in a local paper told of a new "service" in our area that mixed yoga with storytelling. Setting aside personal religious convictions regarding "yoga" itself, the article disturbed me because apparently the parents who use this business can not themselves find other ways to help their children relax and have fun. Parents were quoted as saying that the class helped their children "calm down" and that they "enjoy hearing the stories." They commented that their children had "forgotten how to play" and were just "too stressed and busy from homework and all their activities." HELLO??!! How about STAYING HOME and reading to them yourself?

OK, so my husband and I are old-fashioned. We still read to our kids (now ages 8 and 12). We don't have an after-school activity scheduled for them every day after school. We don't insist they play a sport every season. We let them (gasp!) hang out and read on the couch or play outside, or do LegosTM, or even create a messy art project. We go to church, twice a week even, and they even have fun there. (And for that, I must thank an excellent youth pastor, some Silly Sunday School Teachers, and many other caring adults!)

I am not just criticizing other parents' choices for their kids. I am concerned at the effects of their choices on their children, my kids' peers. I see these children becoming de-sensitized to things which are disgusting. They see it as normal behavior. I observe the kinds of clothes that their pre-cleavage, pre-teen children want to wear, emulating the cleavage-driven pictures on the torpor tube. I listen to an increasing number of families who have no tolerance for a Christian worldview, even though I must tolerate their agnostic one.

What's wrong with this picture? More than anything, it is that my Christian peers often don't see any problems at all. Maybe it's my age. (Hey, that's a good excuse!) Or maybe it's because I haven't found a way to communicate my concerns with God's love at the heart of my words...

...I'm trying!

OK, rant over...

From our home to yours...


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