Choices & Our Kids

iStock_000008375363_MediumHave you ever given thought to how your media choices affect your children? Most parents censors what their kids can and can’t watch on television, the iPad, movies etc., but have you ever really thought about how those choices resonate with your kids?

Recently on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon we decided to pop up some popcorn and rent something on-demand. After a brief debate we settled on Planes: Fire and Rescue. I figured like any good Disney/Pixar film it would have age appropriate themes for the older one, bright colors and cool music for the younger one, and a few off-color jokes for the parents. It delivered on three fronts perfectly! However, there was an unintended consequence that arose; something I never saw coming.

For the two hours after the movie ended, and for several days following, my older daughter was a plane, rescuing her sister, toys, pets etc. from danger. The thought of helping people really hit home. She not only understood what it meant to be in danger and needing rescue she wanted to help. Do I expect her to be a firefighter one day, probably not, but what if this movie becomes some sort of catalyst that defines an inner passion to help others?

It started to make me think about the choices we make for our kids when it comes to media and activities. So it got me thinking about ways to influence these themes in real life. There are so many opportunities in NH to show children what it means to be a hero. There are also opportunities to teach kids about where they came from and obstacles others had to overcome to get where we are today!

If you are looking for a great way to expose your kids to everyday heroes you can always visit your local fire and police departments. It is always recommended that you call ahead to pre-arrange a visit. When theses heroes are not out on a call part of their mission is to educate the community. They would much prefer to teach children about fire safety than to be putting out a fire.

There are also opportunities to teach kids about where they came from and how we got here. The Millyard Museum has an incredible catalog of artifacts and exhibits detailing New Hampshire’s history. Kids once had to work a 18 hour day in a factory for a few pennies. Combined with a trip to the SEE Science Center a Saturday afternoon can turn into an opportunity for learning and wonder. They also have vacation programs too… not a bad way to spend some time on winter break.

I always “knew” what I should and shouldn’t let my kids watch. But now I KNOW that the choices go beyond language and tone… that the message in the media resonates and that is something that hadn’t really hit home until recently. I want to take that off-line now, and give my daughter the opportunity to see the heroes that will run in, when others are running out.

If you have had a similar experience with discovering a theme in a movie or TV show, how did you handle it? Did you go beyond the big screen and show your child where or what that situation was like in real life?

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