Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My thoughts, continued

Rather than address each of my lovely readers individually in the comment box (thank you for all your support -- you girls are awesome), I am continuing to chat about this subject today as, clearly, there is much to say on the topic.

First, I want to say that by citing the title of the movie to which I objected I am in no way judging another for watching that movie. As Margaret stated, this is a very personal issue. What I object to may not be what you object to.

That said, my point was not that I object or you should object, but that I personally felt that Jesus would object. In my attempt to live my life, and encourage my children to live their lives, with God at the center, I should not be watching films, or television, or reading books or viewing websites, etc., that I feel would be offensive to my Lord.

After the incident I mentioned yesterday, I logged onto our Netflix queue and checked out every movie in the queue. I like to use this website because it gives me a blow-by-blow per se of each category -- ***, violence, drugs/alcohol usage, language. (I also use this site for its faith perspective, and Margaret mentioned the U.S. bishops' movie site which seems to have more movie details than they used to.) I deleted six movies from my movie queue -- all movies that on the surface seemed just fine, and, in fact, had worthy stories. On closer inspection, however, I read about details of scenes (including one female/female *** scene that I would never have foreseen), and specific language, including blasphemy, and in each instance I thought about Jesus sitting next to me on the sofa and imagined just exactly how I would feel watching the film with Him. Well, I don't even think I need to say just how I felt in some instances. Jamie mentioned that she has a friend who only watches movies that her children should watch. I don't know if I would chose that as my benchmark, as I know I would not watch some very serious movies (i.e. Passion of the Christ) with my nine-year-old daughter. I think, however, that choosing movies I would watch with the Lord is the way to go for me.

Secondly, I know that I did not "ruin" my son. It is almost laughable that I am worrying about my 19-year-old son in this manner. He is an adult (though still my child). My issue is that this incident happened on my watch. If he goes to his girlfriend's house and watches a movie not of my choice, I can not change that. If he walks into a movie theater and pays for a ticket to a movie not of my choice, I can not change that. And when he moves out on his own and watches movies not of my choice I can not change that. I can, however, control what I do in my house and how that choice, in turn, affects my children. Yes, I guess that makes this about me. I have been there, done that with kids going off to college and doing what they want -- wild and carefree. Honestly, I try not to think about it. Under my roof, with my knowledge, there must be limits, and I get to set them (with my husband's input, of course). ;-)

Third, I realize my own son's culpability in this matter. Though I made the choice to bring the movie into the house, he chose to pick it up and watch it. We talked. And talked. The thing is, parenting is one place where "do as I say and not as I do" doesn't fly. As Regan said, we are hypocrites if we sit and watch a movie and then say, "Oh, this is not for you." As an adult, albeit a young one, my son can see right through that. Even if he obeys me now, he will see that making poor choices is something we do when we leave home and are in charge of own lives. Not a good example.

I see that there are many things that we can change at home, and I am not blind to the fact that some of these changes will be hard. My children are old enough to resist -- yes, they love this culture. It's fun, isn't it? Exciting and titillating. All that and more. No one ever said parenting is easy.

"What good fortune therefore it is to receive a good, truly Christian upbringing, to enter with it into the years of youth, then in the same spirit to enter into the years of adulthood." --Saint Theophan



  1. Caught our blog from the Catholic Gadget toolbar. What a beautiful blog.

  2. I was thinking the same thing as I started reading this today, that as parents, we can't dictate and mandate every choice our children make as they grow older, but we set an example for them to emulate by the choices we make ourselves. Especially if they know why we've made them. :-)

    Love you, Barbara.

  3. Playing devil's advocate here...

    As married adults (and, hopefully, ones that are more grounded in our faith) we are less sensitive to certain themes than unmarried young adults.

    Therefore, sometimes, it can be a question of "Do as I say and not as I do" when it comes to mature subject matter because our appetites are not as...er...easily aroused as a 19-year-old's would be.

    I also have to respectfully disagree with Regan, (I love you, Regan!), in saying that nudity is not always immodest. This is the former art major in me talking--the one who took several life-drawing classes where the models wore little more than goosebumps, and the one who hopes to take her children to Europe someday to see, for example, Michelangelo's David in Florence.

    This is an excellent discussion!

  4. Like Margaret I have also took those classes. I drew very very good hands. hee hee. The naked stuff did not bother me. However, even watching the "babies" show with my teen boy and the black mama had her boobs out...I fast forward.

    Kids need to see their parents love their Lord. I personally did not get that from mine and was lost for so long. When I met my husband he told me his parents called a cab to make it to Mass when the car did not start. That is love.

    Love is watching my boyfriend puke after Mass in the snow bank because he did not want to miss Mass even deathly sick. (personally I say stay home so the rest of the world can stay healthy)

    I saw the love.

    I learned the most about the "whys" of our faith when my best friend left it because she didn't "feel" anything when she went to church.

    Under my Watch...would make a good blog name!

  5. Whoa, I am super late to the party! I just read your first post on this, and I have to commend you, Barbara for talking so frankly about it. There are a lot of parents who don't even address any of this with their kids ever.

    My eldest is almost 12, so I feel like we are really just now getting into this area with her. She is now at the age where she wants to watch "older" movies like the kind her friends watch. Unfortunately, what her friends watch (and listen to on the radio) is trash in her parents' opinion. I can tell it is really starting to chafe her even though we spend many conversations explaining our reasons to her. I feel like such a newbie that I have no good advice to offer yet.

    The comments are very valuable on these posts -- they make me feel like I might not be the freaky strict mom that all my friends think I am. Thank you, ladies!!

  6. I really like this post. Very thought provoking. I only wish my parents had been more diligent in researching the movies we were watching.

  7. Thanks, Jennie, for your love and support. Besides having a God-centered life, being a really good example for my kids is really at the root of this.

    Margaret, You are a devil, you. And I agree -- about kids to some degree -- but not about God. If He is true and real to me, is anything but perfect good enough?

    Like you, I think that showing that I am willing to sacrifice for my children shows them how much I love them. And saying "I will not watch this movie because I won't let you watch this movie" is really putting my love where my mouth is.

    Stick to your guns. And make sure that little girlie knows the reason that you are so careful is you love her and God loves her!

    I agree. Though my parents were cautious they were not cautious enough. Especially once I became an adult under their roof.

  8. you are awesome, barb. i've been thinking about you all day, praying you will feel peace about this. i think all of this healthy discussion, from many wise ladies, is great! my tired brain didn't have the common sense to process what margaret and christine brought up about nudity. and (i love you both and you are so right. i think i merely spoke the way i did because i was uncomfortable with that naked man popping up all over the place in said movie. but that is a personal distaste i have.) and i agree that we can handle things as married adults that our children can't and shouldn't.
    really, to each his own. we are all entitled to our opinions. and i certainly don't want to get up on my high horse and say that i've never watched anything raunchy. i just don't care too. and i've even watched things with my husband-because he wanted to see something-and i am usually the one to say (sarcastically of course) "nice choice"!
    so...with that being said...i'll go now. and i think that we might all be right...however, inevitably, we must all do what WE feel is best for our own families. (somehow balancing the desire to please our LORD, always, with tastefully enjoying a bit of entertainment. good. clean. fun. now and again.) (i wasn't crazy about the african ladies' big boobies in the babies movie either. we, too, fast forwarded it!)

  9. Wow, this is so timely for me to read. You articulate this subject so well! I have two (young) teens and this is such a challenge for me as well as it is new territory for us. I just recently rented Love Actually, and my husband and I turned it off within the first 5 minutes. Thank God children were not present... I mistakenly thought it was rated PG 13. I personally cannot watch, and pay to watch, other people portray sin...sins that send us to Hell. Even if I am not commiting the actual sin, I am allowing myself to be entertained by it. I can handle war movies and language to an extent, but not sins of the flesh. Adults are not immune to such themes. We are in danger of allowing ourselves to become desensitized to sin by watching sin. Married men will react to topless women in a movie etc. just as much as
    unmarried men. One just has to look at the sexual addiction epidemic in our society. In the Our Father we say, "lead us not into temptation", and much of media leads us right to temptation. A good priest we know is always warning his flock "custody of the eyes", and it is not a warning for just the children. Your diligence is admirable, and has certainly helped me "wake up" to this very serious issue.
    Thank you for sharing this as it is helping me have a clearer perspective regarding my mission as a mother. It is nice to know other mom's are out there and grappling with these serious issues, and share how they handle it. May our Blessed Mother, who is the definition of purity, guide us and protect our families!
    God Bless,
    PS- I just love visiting your blog! :)

  10. This IS a tough subject...I have a 19 year old in college and a 15 year old here, as well as a 9 year old. And I will admit that we have NOT done as well as we should have in terms of making sure the movies we watch are not inappropriate for our kids...there's stuff we won't let them watch ("My Cousin Vinny" and the uncut "Blues Brothers") but those are certainly there, and who's to say they're not popping them into the VCR/DVD when we're sleeping and they're up half the night?
    Thanks for exploring this topic--I need to do some thinking about what's on the queue around here!

  11. I recently read a great book (that I've been meaning to review on my blog...but haven't gotten to it) called Encountering Christ in the Media. Great resource, Barb.

    Love this discussion and it's timely as my oldest (8) was invited to a bday party at the movie theater and I'm so torn about whether or not to send him to it. Still working through this. Can I just not go through the teenage years? I'm pretty sure they just might kill me! 4 teenage boys... oh my.

  12. My husband will occasionally netflix a comedy geared towards men b/c they make them look funny in the previews. When we watch the movie, I am usually HIGHLY offended by the crude remarks towards women or their bodies. I now barely watch any "secular" movies. I don't like filling my mind with junk. I like the USCCB movie review site, but I sometimes don't even agree with the Bishops. I like Plugged In Online which is run by Focus on the Family and it digs much deeper & is much more detailed than USCCB.

  13. Elisa, I completely agree with you about the crude humor. And just since we've curbed our watching of junk, it is even more offensive. Really, why watch it? We should feed our minds what is pure and Godly.

  14. Precisely. There are a good number of Saint movies. My mother-in-law saves the Ignatius Press DVD catalog and just netflixes them!


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!