Harry Potter Mania!

I am one of the few and maybe even the proud who can say: I’ve never read a Harry Potter book. I’ve also never watched Lord of the Rings. (OK, everyone who is reading this can pick themselves up off the floor where they fainted!) I do not want to portray any criticism of the Harry Potter books since I’ve never read them. My comments today come from a ‘parenting’ point of view and how do you help your child choose books/movies to grab. And the peer pressure that comes with that.

My basic criteria for my children is that any book or movie must have clear characteristics in the characters. By that I mean, at whatever age my child was, the books and movies that I allowed them to read/see were ones that they could ‘tell’ who the Good was and who the Evil was. They saw all the Star Wars movies. They were not allowed to watch The Simpsons and Rosie. While there was violence in Star Wars and, yes, the ‘darkness’ of Vadar, the characters chose which side of the line between Good and Evil to stand. They didn’t straddle the line and say it was “ok”. The Simpsons and Rosie produced themes of dumb parents and smart-mouthed kids and sent the message that there are no absolutes except that all ‘traditions’ are passé and we are smarter now than we were ‘then’.

If you asked my children, I suspect they would tell you that they did not always appreciate their “old-fashioned” mother who wouldn’t let me listen to some of the music that their friends had or allow them to go to the movies that their all their friends went to see without them! However, now that they are in their 20’s it is interesting to me that they don’t go to the ‘high gore’ and ‘high profanity’ movies now that they are able to make their own decisions. The peer pressure to do what all their friends were doing was difficult. I do not want to minimize that. I’m a grandparent now so I would say to all parents out there who are wresting with their children about books/music/movies – “Suck it up!” It is not the worse thing in the world to have your children point to you as the “bad guy” who wouldn’t let them do everything their friends are doing!!! I would also caution you to make sure that your choices will stand up to their scrutiny. By the time your children are in school, there are no excuses that cover watching movies that are “inappropriate” for your children. Hollywood may put out a warning that the film contains “adult themes” but that is just an excuse for ‘stuff’ that we smart, old adults shouldn’t be watching either!

But back to Harry: the hype of the release of this newest book is staggering when you find that the release of this book tops all the online news sites ahead of the war, the fate of the German hostages, and the devastating floods in the UK. Hmmm. Where are our priorities?

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3 Responses to Harry Potter Mania!

  1. Pingback: Jevlir Caravansary » Blog Archive » Parental Choices on Reading and Viewing

  2. I'm not sure I'd want to do the same with my children. The messiness of life, mixed motivations, growing to maturity from immaturity, and so on seem to dictate a different policy, one that allows them to see that good guys can do bad things, even very bad things, at times. I think your policy would make it very difficult to allow your children to read the story of David's life in the Bible or any of the judges in the book of Judges, never mind Jonah, a prophet of God (and thus a good guy) and Job (declared righteous and yet reprimanded by God at the end of the book).

    Having read the whole Harry Potter series, I can say that the story is very much one of coming to maturity. Harry does some immature things as he's growing to maturity. But he's clearly a good guy. There's really only one character who isn't clearly good or clearly bad, but that's a problem merely in terms of what people know about him. He really is on one side, but he's very good at hiding it, and he has both sides thinking he's on their side for a while. Otherwise the one he's not really working for would never allow him among them. It's ripe for discussions about morality and choices, also, and it allows Christian parents to raise questions about some of the things Harry and his friends do that are questionable.

    I think the Simpsons is a brilliant commentary on the American family. I haven't watched it much lately, so maybe that's no longer true, but it's very well done and very insightful. It's not a children's show, however, and anyone who lets their children watch it, especially without supervision and without discussion of the themes in it, is asking for trouble.

  3. eclexia says:

    Wow, there are two of us who haven't read a single Harry Potter or watched Lord of the Rings? I do struggle with establishing and passing on to my children good principles for choosing books and movies. For lifelong decision making, they are going to need something better than, "I just don't like this book or movie".

    At this point, I'm more than happy for them to be able to say, "My Mom won't let me see that", but my goal is to help them grow into knowing/deciding for themselves why a particular book or movie is or is not a wise choice. It's encouraging to hear how your children are careful with their own watching now. I know that I am thankful to my parents for all the stuff that I didn't fill my eyes and brain with, because they wouldn't let me.

    One thing that we talk about at home, whether it is a book, T.V. show or even an advertisement is what the author is trying to get us to think, believe or do. Also, what is the worldview message that this story or ad assumes to be true? Maybe that is "overthinking" things, but I think it helps my kids be more deliberate in their choices, at least sometimes.

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