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Friday, January 8, 2010

Helping Our Kids To Learn Discernment

Lady of Virtue has an excellent post with guidelines for helping us to discern what kinds of things are being communicated in books, movies, music. You know questions to ask ourselves about it.

Her post got me thinking about how we learn to discern what is good, or rather what is excellent. There are lots of good things out there that we can spend our time on but with our time at a premium I like to try for those things which are the best use of my time.

I have always preread books that I was going to give to my children to read. This allowed me to discuss it with them and to be able to ask good questions to see what they were comprehending. It also helped me when someone gave a series of books to one of my daughters when she was twelve. They were popular books, and this persons daughter had loved them. The mom was so thrilled her daughter was reading for pleasure. But as I read them, I was embarrassed at the adult themes and discussions in the books and amazed that this was popular youth literature. I talked to the mom who was shocked! She had not read them and felt awful that her daughter had!

Now many would say 'well, our children are exposed to much worse at school, or work etc...' but I ask you, does that make it ok? What should our measuring guide be? This isn't as bad as that, so it is alright?

This is a real challenge as our children get older...much of what my girls read, I have already read. They are getting to an age where my husband says that they must choose for themselves what they are going to allow into their minds, through music, books, movies, television. He's right. They are adults or nearly adults and we aren't always going to be able to preview everything. So how do we go about helping our young adults and children learn to be discerning?

One thing we do is talk - a lot! When we watch stuff we ask questions from the time that they are young - "what was that movie about?" "what world view were they teaching?" "Was that dad protecting his family?" "were they showing love to one another? What was the result?" These kinds of questions help our children to view media with a discerning eye.

What kinds of guidelines or things do you use in your families to help you to be discerning with media? I love to learn from you all.


Anonymous said...

My challenge with Mace when we first started watching TV when he was 3, was to explain that just because a program is animated it doesn't mean it's appropriate for children. We had to distinguish between adult cartoons and ones for kids. Still was pretty cute to hear a three year old respond to my question of "what are you watching?" with "don't worry, mama. It's appropriate."

Lisa in NE

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...


That is so funny! Kids are really sharp they can learn quickly the standards you have for them!

They sure do make life interesting don't they?

Sandy said...

I'll have to check out that post! We've always told our kids to listen to their "gut" - that they will know.

Great post!

Kelly said...

We do still preview movies, and even so, we talk about the movies we do allow them to view. We talk a lot too, about movies, music, and other media. We don't have television.

I remember when our oldest was little and we were already teaching him these things. He was about four years old and a friend of mine was watching him for me and when I picked him up, she said to me, "Well, you certainly are teaching him well." When I asked what she meant, she said, "I put a movie in for the boys to watch." (I don't remember what movie, but I do know it was animated)
She finished, "The movie hadn't been on very long before Anthony told me 'I am not allowed to watch this.'" I was very proud of Anthony, that at such a young age he spoke up because of what we had taught him.


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...