To continue our conversation with our children about media choices, which started with a bad media choice by my husband and me, we had a Family Home Evening lesson about media.
First, we read a story in the March 2015 issue of the friend called TV Trouble. To read the article, you can click here.
Then, we had a discussion about what to do if our children were faced with a media dilemma. This is not our entire conversation. Our 6-year-old daughter had some wonderful answers, but the extra experiences our son has had recently will probably be more helpful for this post. Our daughter is understanding all the "right" answers (not just lip service, she really seems to understand the gospel with her heart). She just hasn't had many experiences with it yet.
Mom: K (our oldest son), remember when your friend was over and he turned on the cartoon "Total Drama?"
M: How did that show make you feel?
K: I wasn't sure how I felt.
M: I wasn't feeling totally comfortable with it, especially since your little brother (3 years old) was watching with you. It didn't seem very appropriate for him. Do you remember what we did?
K: Yeah. We gave him suggestions of others shows we could watch. He wasn't interested in any of them.
M: Then what happened?
K: Well, we went upstairs and looked at our movies and he found a movie we could all watch.
M: Did it all work out?
Then, we asked the kids some questions about what else they could do when confronted with a situation that included an inappropriate media choice. Both our 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter had great answers (call home, say a prayer and ask for help, ask the friend to change the channel, ask the friend to do something else, leave if the friend doesn't want to change what they are doing, etc). We felt confident that they knew alternatives to watching something inappropriate. The hard thing is actually doing it. My husband and I talked about Pippin again and how we didn't know how our friends felt, or how they would react when we left the show. But, we let the kids know how wonderful it made us feel afterward. We felt empowered by the spirit.
The lesson seemed to be really effective for all our children.
Then, we got THE QUESTION! Our 9-year-old is trying to decipher what the spirit feels like. He's starting to ask harder questions, like:
K: Mom, I'm confused.
M: Oh, what are you confused about?
K: I don't know when I'm feeling the spirit. How can I tell?
M: That is an excellent question (as I'm trying to think of a good way to answer this amazing question). You know how when you do something good, you feel happy inside?
M: When we were volunteering with daddy at the Hospice place yesterday, how did that make you feel?
K: Good. It was fun.
M: It was fun, but it was also good for your spirit. It made us all really happy to be helping others. That's the spirit telling you that you've done something good. Have you ever been around anything that made you feel uncomfortable?
K: Yeah, when kids at school say bad words.
M: Those kinds of feelings are when the spirit leaves. It will take a lot of practice and you'll have to keep listening and trying, but you will learn how to be able to tell when the spirit is helping you feel something and when it is leaving because something is not appropriate.
K: Oh, okay.
M: It's okay that you don't have it all figured out now. Just pay attention to how you feel when you are at home, on the bus, at school, with friends. You will be able to tell what you feel when the spirit is with you.
K: Okay. I can do that.
M: Does that help you? Are you still confused?
K: That helps. Thanks, Mom.
During the course of the conversation, I could tell that he was relieved to know that he didn't have to have it all figured out right now. He seemed worried that he wasn't listening or something because he can't always tell when he has the spirit with him and when he doesn't. It appeared to comfort him that it's okay for him to still be figuring things out.......And, let's be honest......I'm still learning this as well..........