We should be no stranger to the fact that what we watch as adults can shape, inspire, inform, and change our way of thinking. But there’s something much bigger at stake, too. Our children are changed, impacted, and affected by what they take in through their eyes. Sometimes this is through our example as their parents, teachers, and families. Oftentimes they absorb it through movies, Christian films, and TV shows.
Who’s the Hero?
Kids want a hero, and in turn, they want to be a hero. They catch a glimpse of a character or person that has something they don’t have — skill, gadgets, “super powers,” and their imagination latches on to an idea that’s bigger than themselves: “Maybe I can do that too!” So when your kid comes along side of you with a clothes hanger while you’re vacuuming and makes the “vroom vroom” sound, don’t wonder where the coat went. They’re absolutely convinced they’re helping you sweep the carpet.
Mommy’s Little Monster, Er, Helper
Kids love to help. No really. I know, I know most children between the ages of newborn and 9 don’t seem to give a hoot or have a clue most of the time they’ve been the sole cause of a mess or small-scale household disaster. But instead of scolding them, “Why did you do this? Hey don’t do that! You’re in trouble now!” See who wants to help you clean up the mess. Set the table. Pick up the toys. Carry a small bag of groceries. Get their “sippy” cup. Those of you with infants, can only dream. But those of you who have a 14+ month old, don’t scoff.
That’s the Idea!
Discipline can be difficult without offering change or direction to a young mind and heart. If we’re constantly telling them what they can’t and shouldn’t do, then what are they supposed to do? We need to set an example for them to emulate. Be constructive and encouraging. And we need to expose them to resources that will teach them on a level they can connect with: “I can be that hero.”
A Better Role to Model
Our children watch our example and whether cognitively or not, compare it to what they see in movies and TV shows. We need to change our hearts and our viewing choices so that they want to grow and develop, and quality Christian movies can help. I’ve seen kids that struggle with structure blossom in just a few days with their attitude, response, and choices.
Their initiative to barrel around and bump into things unnoticed can change into, “Look Mommy, I fixed this!” And if our reply when they do seem to be careening out of control is “Hey I’m looking for a big helper! Who’s it gonna be?” you will not only start to shape their perspective on their relationship with you. And when they see unseemly characters, they won’t want to imitate them, they will inherently want to be just like their heroes. They will want to be just like you!
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