We’re coming to a new parenting threshold with Jacob. He is at the age where his friends are starting to watch movies and listen to music that we haven’t allowed him to watch. This is usually because of the language, violence, crude humor, or sexuality that is involved. Jacob is now asking to watch some of these movies and Stephanie and I are talking about when is appropriate for him to do so.
One view of the issue is that we want Jacob to maintain friendships, feel like he is a part of a group, and be able to enjoy the parts of these movies that are truly humorous. Movies like Happy Gilmore are very funny and can be a lot of fun to laugh at and enjoy with friends.
A second view on the issue is that Jacob will very likely watch these movies at some point and watching them at home, with his parents, gives us the opportunity to filter the movies and discuss certain parts of it with Jacob. This would be preferable, it is said, to Jacob secretly watching movies at other places without Stephanie and I around.
A third view is that Jacob doesn’t need to watch these at all, that humor can be found elsewhere, and that he doesn’t need to repeat movie lines with his friends in order to fit in.
This is a pretty complex issue. I think there are even more things to be considered in the conversation including questions like…
- What does it say about me and Stephanie that we have watched and enjoyed these movies?
- Are movies with war/violence/con artistry any better or worse than crude humor and sexuality?
- Are these the kind of kids we want Jacob to be fit in with and be friends with?
- How will these friends impact Jacob in the future if they have these kind of boundaries now?
- Can Christians enjoy certain parts of a movie if they filter out/ignore the bad stuff?
- How much does what I watch infiltrate my mind and heart in ways I may not even be conscious of?
- Would I want to sit and watch the movie with Jesus present?
- How do I lead Jacob into holiness without being legalistic or making him become begrudgingly submissive?
- Am I teaching Jacob how to live in the world without being drawn into it?
- Am I leading a life that models for my children, in an attractive way, what it looks like to love and obey Jesus?
We’re at a stage we’re we have to teach Jacob how to engage the kids and world around him through a Biblical, Christ-honoring lens. This is tough. And it forces me to examine myself to see what standards I have for myself and my own walk with God. I realize that I have to be the example of what it looks like to live the kind of life I am calling my son to.