A baby is born and is completely dependent on someone to provide for the basic needs. Within the first year the child goes from completely helpless to crawling and many times even walking. Parents are told to fill their minds with music, color, shapes and to talk to their baby. The child is like a sponge taking it all in. I’m wondering when we lose our sponginess. Do we? When do we grow immune to our environment, or the messages that are shared? I don’t think we ever lose it. I think we forget about the cliché “garbage in, garbage out.” We think as adults we have great command over our thoughts and self- control of our actions.
I digress, because tonight my concern is for our young people and the messages they are receiving disguised in the cloak of entertainment. Tonight our family went to see Marvel’s Avengers (http://marvel.com/avengers_movie/). It was a treat and a good movie. However, the previews of coming attractions were a string of dark stories that were presented as end of the earth, destruction, movies that led me to think that life is hopeless. Ok, so they are movies not reality. But you and I both know the line between the two can be very faint for the young people around us. The previews also included two new reality shows coming to television. Seriously, is this entertainment? If it’s true reality than maybe all hope is gone.
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when television was growing in popularity as a means of entertainment. The situational comedies like Happy Days and Lavern and Shirley, filled our minds with fun and laughter. Never once did we hear Richie Cunningham bashing his father or being two-faced with his friends. Today our television schedules are full of ridiculous shows that are “reality based” are filled with backstabbing men and women. The plot lines for this waste of time and space shows ranges from alligator competitions, to bored house wives, father son motor cycle builders and even loggers. How is this entertaining? When you watch a reality tv show, after it’s over do you have a sore belly from laughing like we did with characters like Joey on Friends or Jerry Seinfeld? Let me help here, you don’t. If anything you may just find yourself tired and cynical.
Shows that make us laugh; give us the opportunity to release all those positive endorphins that laughter produces. Shows that inform stretch our minds and build knowledge. Television dramas can be entertaining if well written and have strong characters. Even watching a sporting event can be uplifting.
What messages are our young people taking in from their television and movie entertainment if all of them are dark, stressful and cynical? Why should they have hope for a brighter future if this is what they watch? How can we be effective parents and mentors if this is the crap we are watching?
Think about it…