I love to watch movies. And to be honest, now that Life is On Hold, it has been easier to spend more time, especially in the evenings, gathered around the Big Screen with my family.
It’s been a fabulous way to relax.
One odd decision that my husband and I had to make: what to do with our 11-year old son.
He is not “technically” old enough to watch PG-13 movies.
Yet. We wanted to watch movies as a family. And most of the movies on our list were PG-13.
I thought of all of the ways we have purposefully sheltered our kids and it felt, I don’t know, almost right to make the decision to allow David to “move up in the world” and watch with us.
It seemed like such a nice, strong, family decision.
Then, Mother Angelica entered the scene. For those of you that don’t know Mother Angelica, she was a fiery nun that literally built EWTN (the largest religious media network) from the ground up.
I learned a lot about this nun while reading her biography. She was a born leader and she realized, post Vatican II, that many people were making their own rules. So she jumped in and started educating Catholics in the faith.
She had an incredible relationship with Jesus and she knew He would do all of the heavy lifting of her projects. I was greatly inspired by her faith.
She was also an activist. In June 1973 she had bumper stickers made that said “Fight Mind Pollution.”
She said, “The Christian shall be alive and aware of the consequences of mind pollution, the most important form of pollution.”
Those two words, "Mind Pollution," seared my soul. Mind Pollution. Were PG-13 movies mind pollution for my 11-year old son?
I wanted to say no, heck no, Lori, relax a little.
Then Russ and I settled in and watched “Oceans 11,” a pretty tame PG-13 movie, with our son, David.
That darn Mother Angelica. I couldn’t shake those two words of MIND POLLUTION as we watched the movie, which contained two inappropriate scenes and (the one allowed) F-bomb.
Now. A part of me wanted to shrug. Oh wells. The kid needs to grow up, you know?
But part of my JOB as a parent should be to guide and direct my child, not INTRODUCE him to indecent movies.
Plus I kept HEARING Mother Angelica.
Later that evening, I told my husband that I was completely done with letting David watch PG-13 movies. We talked it through. He felt some of the same things that I had felt initially, that it’s all good, not a big deal. But then we both really realized that we were looking at it from our perspective. Our 50-some year old perspective.
David, praise God, has a much more tender perspective.
There are scenes that we view, with our hardened eyes, and we casually accept them as the norm. However, if the scene is something that our son has never seen, then it's obviously a totally new experience for him.
New experiences evoke all sorts of new emotions.
My husband and I both agreed that we were being kind of selfish. After all, WE had wanted to watch “Oceans 11.” We had not parented with our son in mind. Dang.it.anyway.
The first thing I did the next morning was apologize to David. I told him sorry that I had invited him to “go up” to meet our viewing level and that from now on we’d meet him at his level.
My kid smiled in his cute way and I don’t know, he was just happy.
As a family, we began discussing good PG movies that we could watch together.
Many movies were brought up and were actually exclaimed over. “Do you remember ‘Fox and the Hound?’”
I told the kids I loved the movie, “Babe.” David said he had never watched that one. Never seen Babe? Oh my stars. I HAD failed my child.
Then someone had the cool idea to watch Disney movies that had two versions so we could compare them. Example: Lion King original movie and the Live version. Jungle Book. Aladdin.
We loved that idea.
And just like that, a new guideline was established. We are going to invest our time in PG movies and enjoy them as a family.
Now, here’s the truth. As I finish this little post, I know there will be parents reading this that have never ever let any of their children (even the ones in high school) watch PG-13 movies.
There are also parents reading this post that have always let their children watch PG-13 movies, no matter how young.
I am not here to judge. The best part of parenting is DECIDING how to get our kids from here to there!
I simply wanted to share our experience with you because I didn’t expect a feisty little nun to deliver two words that would convict me so powerfully.
Our minds are precious. Our children are precious.
It’s time to go outside and ride bikes.
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