Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rugrats, Power Rangers, & Harry Potter.

Growing up, I thought I had very strict parents. The scale of strictness, I thought, was what they allowed me to watch on TV or read compared to other kids. Going to a public elementary school for a couple years, and then also in Christian school, I was constantly hearing kids talk about their favorite television shows. A few that stick out in my mind are cartoons such as Power Rangers, Rugrats, and Captain Planet, and live action shows like Salute Your Shorts and Are You Afraid of the Dark. Those were all on the "No" list. Most shows were on the "No" list. Shows that come to mind when I think of the "Yes" list are Gerbert, Under the Umbrella Tree, and Sesame Street. They didn't battle robots on those shows. They didn't play jokes on their parents. They didn't make crude remarks. All of the shows I just mentioned involve puppets. Puppets who wanted me to learn stuff. Puppets who sang and danced about numbers, making friends, and how to tie your shoes. So they may have seemed a little dull and were not in the least bit "mighty" or "morphin'". 

In reality, Blake and I were in the woods more than we were in front of the TV, which is where I find myself in most of my childhood memories. We were blessed to have trees to make tree houses and forts, a pond to go exploring around, and a big yard to play sports in. Sadly, this no longer exists, and you drive through it now on your way into Crossroads. The ever expanding town of Cary took that over. But anyway, it was not a big loss for us to be deprived of the shows the kids talked about. We had plenty of other things to do. I hope it can be like that for my kids someday too.

Now that I look back on those popular TV shows, I totally understand why my parents didn't want me watching them. I wouldn't want my kids watching them either. I'm pretty sure the only reason we had cable back then was to watch sporting events. I even met someone who had many more childhood restrictions than me, and he turned out to be the most fantastic person I know. I married him. (Props to my wonderful in-laws!)

How does this relate to me now? I don't have kids. I can absolutely sit down and watch Power Rangers, Rugrats, or Salute Your Shorts without having my mind corrupted. I think my parents would be okay with that at this point in my life. But every once in a while, I hear about a big commotion to do with some TV show, movie, or book - why they are terrible, should be protested against, boycotted, banned, etc. And because someone heard about it on a Christian website, it becomes as forbidden as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Which leads me to Harry Potter.

Last Christmas break, I dove into the Harry Potter books for the first time. I had never read any of them or watched any of the movies, so I didn't really have an opinion about them. Blake had the whole set, so I had them right at my fingertips. I flew through the first book and it intrigued me. By the time I was through the second and third, I knew the characters very well. The fourth and fifth got more intense, and the six one had me enthralled. They have provided an excellent escape for me when I want to relax and enter another world. Isn't that what reading for fun is supposed to do?

There have been many times when I mention my involvement with Mr. Potter and I get disapproving looks or a criticizing reaction. That is fine for people to have their own opinions, especially if they've actually read the books. But I think their grudge may be a little off base. I remember the uproar in the Christian community when those books came out, and now that I've read all but the last book (PLEASE don't tell me anything about it!), I understand part of their reasoning, but not all of it. I mean, I am a 22 year old, not a 9 year old.

In my opinion, which is all it is - just an opinion, the Harry Potter series is not for children, but for young adults. Maybe the first two books would be okay, but I'd just go ahead and say the whole series. Yes, it has magic in it, and evil people, and such. But when I think about most animated Disney movies, they have the same thing. And a series like Lord of the Rings. So I'm pretty sure I'd let my high school aged kids read them. And of course I'd talk to them about how it's all imaginative, and how it relates to the problem of evil, and all that. I think what most people miss, is the fact that they can TALK to their kids about what they watch and read, teaching them why things are right or wrong, asking them questions to increase their reading comprehension AND their grasp on moral values. Whether it be Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Barney and Friends, or the Andy Griffith show, I want to someday talk to my kids and help them understand the moral of the story and gather their thoughts about what goes into their minds. At an age suitable for the material. Which means not necessarily banning something for life that may not be right for them at the time. 

When I think back, I remember Blake and I using sticks as wands as we darted through the trees, or as guns as we protected our forts, or as light sabers when we fought the Dark Side. We could have been Harry and Hermione without even knowing about them. I think what was more important to us than our "No" list was the fact that Mom and Dad taught us the truth of the Bible and how it related to our lives.

So what do you think? I know it completely depends on the person, so I'm very open to more opinions on this subject! Especially from people with a lot more experience than me. :)

I was going to post some articles I've read about all of this, but there are just so many and most of them have information about the seventh book that I don't want to know yet! Haha. I'd rather have your opinion anyway. So let me know!


  1. We do not allow Wesley and Mikayla to watch a lot of "popular" shows. I would much rather them use their imaginations than be absorbed in something on TV. I have never been a Harry Potter fan simply because of what you stated above... it had so many things in it that are wrong. However, if you look at Narnia and ones such as that, they, too, battle the dark side. We can use these as tools to help our children see that evil is real and what the Bible says about how we are to treat it. I agree that those much older need to be reading those books. I do know, however, from experience with my little guy that he takes things to heart a lot more than my little gal. He is so super conscious of what the Lord would want and he tries to avoid anything that is against what God would want. That being said... I am not sure he would be into Harry Potter. He would be one that would have to be older to read those.
    You are on your own in your own family now so it is normal for you to move on and "explore" these types of things. I will say that when you have kids of your own, your whole view of life and these thoughts will change in so many ways that it may surprise you. You just see the world a lot differently. You will be in "protection" mode. :) I am glad, though, that you see the great need of talking to your children about everything. Rules without a relationship cause rebellion. You gotta talk. :)

  2. I agree with you about the Harry Potter series. As long as kids realize it's all make believe, there's no harm in it. It is not so different from things like the Chronicles of Narnia series, and in my opinion (I have read every book, and seen every movie), I would rather my child read/watch Harry Potter than many other things on the shelves or on the tube these days. Great post!

  3. Ashley, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I was definitely not allowed to read Harry Potter growing up. However, I flew the whole series my freshman year of college and LOVED them. Harry shows a tremendous amount of love for others and self-sacrifice. I am totally with you--I would NOT hand the series to a young child, but I wouldn't have a problem letting a teenager who understands the difference between fantasy and reality read them.

    I used my imagination a lot growing up. And I am grateful that I didn't always sit and watch TV. Sounds like our parents got together and collaborated on the list of things we weren't allowed to watch. ;) You're going to be a great mom someday. I think you're on the right track with wanting to talk to your children about your rules for them and how you are accountable to God for them. You are awesome.

    PS. Let me know when you finish book 7! AAAAH! Then we will talk!

  4. Interesting post! These two shows are perfect even in today’s time for the kids. Another good source of knowledge and entertainment now days are the shows by Andy Yeatman available on Netflix. I make my kids watch these shows every weekend. If you haven’t seen these shows, then you must give it a try.



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