Monday, June 11, 2012

Movies & Responsible Watching

Why is that mommy sad? He asks after a baby gorilla gets taken away by a Sabor in the first minutes of Tarzan; his mommy and daddy watching in horror as screams of terror can be heard in the distance.

Why is that boy getting a spanking? He asks while we’re watching Pinnochio and one of three disturbing cuckoo clocks (a turkey running from an axe, a bird fleeing a hunter with a gun).

What are we watching?  Then I remember, it’s what all children love…magical, enchanting Disney.

In what I thought would be simple and beautiful relaxation with my kids, I'm all the sudden having to explain death and evil to them. Up until now, my boys have watched a little Dora and Diego and Team Umizoomi. Swiper is about as evil as they’ve seen. 

Since movies haven’t been part of our world yet, I decided to give it a shot. A week ago, I came home with a few Disney movies, anticipating snuggle time and popcorn with my growing toddler and preschooler.  The first night, Zealand was asleep within the first 10 minutes. Luke stayed up for about an hour and there were so many intense questions posed upon me that I wasn’t sure I was ready to answer.

Of course, many of the subjects that came up are things we do talk about or need to talk more about.  Why you shouldn’t talk to strangers. Why you should always trust your mommy. But, evil and death?

In Tarzan, you see blood prints of the leopardess just feet in front of the dead bodies of Tarzan’s parents. Mommy, what are they doing there? Why don’t they get up and help the baby?

Ugh, really! I’m half asleep, and not at all ready for these questions.

I love Disney movies, most of them. So it’s not like I’m going to give them up because I can’t handle the questions and a few emotional (and realistic) scenes. But I now know that I must watch these movies (and all TV, really) with responsibility. Be ready to handle the questions, the emotion in these motion pictures.  Help your children find a way to understand and enjoy it while maintaining their sweet innocence.


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