See to it that no one takes you captive… according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
By total coincidence, I had the DVD “Ruby Bridges” to watch with my kids on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day last year. Based on a true story, it’s a movie about one of the first African-American students to attended an all white school in Louisiana in 1960. Ruby was all of six-years-old.
As the angry white people spat at poor little Ruby, and threatened to kill her, my kids were squirming in their seats. Mason, especially, kept saying how much he hated the movie. I explained that there was a big difference between a poorly written movie with awful acting, and a well done movie that made you feel bad. The first was a waste of time. The second was very necessary if that bad feeling had a good lesson in its hands.
My kids are incredibly sheltered. Although they’ve seen some bullying at school, they’d never witnessed the true hatred depicted in that movie. They couldn’t believe that people acted so cruelly during desegregation. It made me realize all I haven’t exposed them to yet.
There is so much I grapple with as a mother, but exposing my children to the atrocities of the real world is one of the biggies. If I can’t handle watching the evening news without getting overwhelmed and depressed, why would I expose my children to that? Yet, how will they grow up to be informed people who can possibly make a difference, if I don’t?
I think it’s kid appropriate movies like this one that are my answer. Although it made my kids squirm, that movie was the springboard to a fantastic conversation about intolerance. Multiple times throughout the movie, I paused it so we could talk.
At a level they could understand, we discussed how Ruby was just like them: a gift from God, just wrapped up in a different skin color. From there, we talked about all the other types of people who may look and act differently from them, but are still God’s gifts to the world. The more we embrace them, the more they share their gifts with us. The more we reject them, the more discord there is in the world. Although the conversation was basic, it was the foundation for how peace is created, and why war is waged.
Lo and behold, when the movie ended, all three of my kids said they loved it. In fact, they wanted to watch it again this year.
This experience helped me realize my kids are ready for more. I don’t have to shelter them so much. I’ve built a foundation of love, security, and acceptance in my home. Now it’s time to equip my kids to spread all that love and acceptance out in the world. If little Ruby could do it, my kids can too!
If you have any suggestions for good, lesson-teaching movies, appropriate for kids, I’d love you to share them in the comment section below. Thanks!
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Questions for Reflection:
* How do I cope when I hear about the atrocities in the world?
* Do I expose my children to any of them? If so, how?
* What are the ways my kids and I can help spread love and acceptance in the world?