Friday, January 24, 2014

Frozen: How We Choose What Let Our Children Watch

Sometimes it is hard to choose what to watch. Children's films can have a powerful influence on their little minds. Sometimes it is nice to just watch a movie without thinking about it's potential damage to attitudes.

Most recently we have met Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from the Nordic lands of Frozen.
Personally, I loved the film. I loved the Norwegian designs, the mountains, the fjord. It seems to be in my blood,. and I know it is my heritage. So I was naturally drawn to it. The dirndl style dresses, thick braids, and beautiful fjord scenery were pulled me in, while the lovable and gallant snowman Olaf made certain I thoroughly enjoyed the film. On the surface, it was a delightful film and made a late night date with my husband very pleasant. I intend to own a copy of the film and I hope that Saoirse will grow up wanting watch the two sisters and play princess.

My husband and I often discuss our household movie standards. We each grew up in homeschooling families with vastly different perspectives. We have known those who avoid movie theaters, those who ban Disney, talking animals, sci-fi, romances, people who watch TV shows, and those who favor documentaries, etc, etc. As Christians we do want to be conscious of what we watch and how often. Yet we are tired of the everlasting debate and fuss that seems to accompany so many discussions. Unless you watch no movies at all, there seems to be no way to avoid some inconsistency in your standards.

There are certain groups who would have us watch every movie with a list of questions, usually theological in nature. Others want to analyze teaching moments, pausing the film for family discussion. Certainly there are times for this. But my children are toddlers! I am not going to pause Winnie-the-Pooh to tell my son that the bear stuffed with fluff has stress issues that he seeks to relieve with sweets. From a psychological and theological stand point we border on the ridiculous by our constant stress over what they might learn.

And let's not forget the left-wing feminist, speaking out against the Disney model for doe-eyed, slender-waisted princesses. Goodness, we wouldn't want girls to think that being pretty is even remotely possible!
And boys can never learn to be chivalrous, and girls cannot expect such things! How poorly Disney prepares us for reality!

What a lot of nonsense!

So how do we decide if a certain movie is allowed or not? Honestly, we have not fully resolved that issue yet. But so far we do believe that it is a personal preference matter. The Bible has nothing specific to address our reading, television, or movies. The general guidelines that Roman and I use come from these two verses:
Philippians 4:8
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I Corinthians 10:31
Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Our children are young, they delight in very simple things and they understand things from a far more innocently open perspective than our cluttered adult minds. They are still sinners yes, but not experienced ones. I watch how they are influenced by books, movies, and shows. I want them to pursue excellence, beauty, honor, love, and above all the glory of God. If they can learn to be gallant like Olaf, loyal like Anna, hard-working like Kristoff, and create beauty like Elsa, then I will let them watch Frozen. And right now, if they just run around singing "Do you want to build a snowman?" that is fine too. Because it brought them some joy! We will save the cultural despondency for a more mature time of life. Right now I have to go change two smelly bottoms.


  1. I liked this very much, Caitlin! We feel similarly ourselves when it comes to entertainment for our children. I am thankful that Disney's (and for the most part, Dreamwork's) offerings for small children seem wholesome most of the time. For some reason, the messages and ideal promoted tend to go south once you delve into the media for adolescents and teens, but by that time it is my hope that our children will have developed an appetite for intellectually stimulating and morally reinforcing material.

  2. Wonderfully written, Caitlin!


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