As an educator, a Mom and a grandmother, I like to stay up on all the “buzz” going on in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry because, let’s face it, we’d be sticking our heads in the sand if we didn’t think our kids and grandkids are influenced by what they see on T.V., the movies and the music they listen to. As a parent it is my responsibility to give wise counsel if I think my kids are watching or listening to something that to me may seem inappropriate or contrary to their Christian upbringing. I am NOT a censor. Let me make that clear. I do not outright ban content my kids are exposed to in the media. Instead I try to create learning opportunities and we have had several teachable moments through the years discussing the merits or foibles of some T.V., movies and music they like.
When my son was fourteen, he came home with a CD that he had purchased with his own money. He had heard the band on the radio and really liked one of their songs. On the way home from the store he asked me if we could listen to the album in the car. (My kids know that I like to “preview” their movies and music, even if the content may not be to my liking…I still listen politely… even if I still don’t get “Screamo” music.) Within fifteen seconds of popping that CD into the player, we had already heard three “F” bombs dropped in the first song’s lyrics. My son looked at me a little guiltily and then he ejected the CD hastily. At home we looked at the album cover and in almost miniscule printing on the back label was the warning: “Explicit Lyrics”. My son had spent his hard-earned allowance on that CD and what I did next made a huge impression on him. I calmly went to the drawer and cut the CD in half with some scissors. Wide-eyed he gasped, “Mom! I could have taken it back to the store and got my money back!” I again very calmly said, “Would you want some other kid buying this album? It’s better we just get rid of it and not let it be sold to another kid.” Amazingly, my son did not argue and I never had to cut another CD in half again.
Now, I know my kids, now as adults, have spent money on questionable movies, CD’s and the like. If truth be told, it is nearly impossible nowadays to avoid renting a movie, or watching a show on T.V. or even listening to music, where offensive material is not present. In fact, I heard a report that many of the Hollywood Award shows have obscenities actually “scripted in” to the programs because vulgarity will quickly ensure the program will be watched (if not that night, on the internet after the fact) and would give more notoriety to the stars who swear as they give their “thank-yous”. I am rather shocked that with the same breath a star says “Thank-you” to friends and family (and even God) for their success, they also lace their acceptance speech with foul words. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
The other day I was at the mall with my grandchildren and a group of young teenaged girls walked past us. Their giggling conversation was an assault on my ears as they used every known obscenity, in what I can only assume was in their limited vocabulary, to talk to each other. I wanted to cover my grandson’s ears so he wasn’t exposed to those words. I glared at the girls but they didn’t even seem to notice.
Several years ago we celebrated my son’s graduation and hosted his after grad party in our home. What impressed me maybe even more than 50 young men and women not drinking alcohol that night, preferring to have a Dry Grad celebration instead, was the fact that I did not hear one swear word all evening. They spoke to one another with respect, even if there was a lot of teasing and joking especially during a heated game of Dutch Blitz! I couldn’t help but think that they take the scripture from Ephesians seriously: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:29-30)
The entertainment industry would do well to take that scripture seriously too…but will they?