Tuesday, May 11, 2010

teaching kids to think about media

one of the challenging aspects of parenting is teaching kids to think critically about the messages preached by American media. now, i'm not the kind of guy that can sit down and just consume a tv show, movie or even a commercial just for entertainment's sake. and i'll make a case that this is a good thing. :)

but how to help the kids? that's another story...and a very important one because without the ability to be "media literate" our kids will not be able to appropriately interact with philosophies that could be harmful.

last week, linda was reading a book to david that was obviously proclaiming a different belief-system than the one we believe and live in our household. here is an excerpt:

Deep in the woods, by the mossy pond edge,
a little duck asks,
"Do you love me, Mama?"
And Mama Duck says,
"Yes little one,
I love you as the pond loves you,
wide and calm beneath you,
giving you food and places to swim.
I love you as the pond loves you,
forever and ever and always."

the book compares the mother's love to several different things in nature, ending with the stars. as a follower of jesus, i don't believe that nature can love. nature doesn't have personality. the Creator God who made nature can and does love. now instead of throwing the book aside or just not saying anything at all, linda made it a fun game:

Linda - "Can a pond love you?"
David - "Nooo...." and on the next page,
Linda "Can the stars love you?"
David - (louder) "Nooooooo!"

and i think david is on a path to being media literate.

similarly, i think i've ruined our oldest son forever by teaching him to "spot the lie" in commercials. especially during football games, i like to ask "what does this commercial want us to believe?" oh, it's such a fun question to ask!

one day, i was not paying attention to the tv and caleb blurted out, "dad, that commercial said that all we need is love and that's not right. all we need is god." (it was a car commercial!)

those are some of the things that we are doing to help our kids interact with media. what other ideas have you tried? what are principles you want your kids to have in their connection with today's media?

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