VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER
How to Talk to Your Kids
By Brooke Keith
CBN.com From Harry Potter to Star Wars and everything in between, fantasy flicks and books can leave Christian parents feeling like they aren’t in Kansas anymore. While it seems to be one of those topics that are “to each his own”, at my house we have never encouraged or discouraged it. We just kind of waited for our kid’s own likes and dislikes to develop and then crossed that bridge when we got to it.
There came a time when we realized we had one kid who cared nothing about fantasy and much preferred Barbie and VeggieTales. On the other hand, there came a time as the other children came along that we realized we had two HUGE Star Wars fanatics under our roof. Before we knew it, we were being taken over by Lego droids, plastic light sabers, and storm troopers as far as the eye could see.
Star Wars has been very accepted by the Christian community; so we kind of lucked out there. It seems to have the battle of good versus evil laid out in a way that is easily spotted by young children. In our house, the children usually don’t fight over the red light saber. They want a chance to be Yoda or Obi-Wan. They want to save the universe, and no matter who is the good guy for the day the red saber always loses.
But when it comes to darker flicks such as Harry Potter or books that blur the lines of reality and fantasy or good and bad, how do you talk to your kids about this and help them to find good, biblical meanings in anything?
1). Do your homework.
A good way to know if a book or movie is appropriate for your child is to do a prescreening of the material. However, if the movie is new and in theaters, this can be a bit of a hassle. In this case, check out family movie review sites (such as CBN.com) that give you a rundown of any offensive material.
If you have a good idea of the content, you can conquer any discrepancies with your faith by having a conversation prior to the movie. Many times you will find that you don’t need to keep them from the material, you simply need to teach them to view it in the right light.
2). Make time to talk.
After watching a fantasy flick, help your kids to find the morals in the storyline. Even if you come away feeling as though you made a poor choice, take this time instead to create a family challenge. Relate Bible stories, verses, and ethics to the characters, situations, or storyline as a whole. Sometimes you can learn more from the hidden meanings than you can from the easily foreseeable ones.
3). Teach them the truth
Keeping your little ones grounded in God’s Word is a terrific way to know that regardless of what they see, they will be able to differentiate between real and fantasy, but before you go taking the fun out of everything read number four first.
4). But let them imagine.
Imagination is a God-given gift. Just think of all the imagination and creativity it took for our Father to create this amazing universe. If you think about it, it’s this world He created that gives us inspiration for the things we dream up.
God wants you to know who He is; and in knowing who He is, He wants you to realize that you are created in His image. You are created in His very creative, oh-so-hugely-imaginative image. He wants to see us use that creativity for fun, for joy and for life to the fullest.
5). Get involved.
Fantasy movies and books make a great bridge for parents and kids to get involved in something together. When our children are younger, we may sit down with them and watch a cartoon or flip the tube to Sprout, but often times it’s a little hard for us to hold our attention.
Fantasy is a great way for you and your kids to start a dialogue and really get into something as a team. If your kids are old enough to enjoy these types of movies and literature, then you’ve found yourself in a wonderful new place, an adventure you can share together.
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