June 6, 2009

From a parent's perspective now

"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to expose my kids to, how much or how little, and when.  As a parent, it's just part of the job.  As a nonreligious parent, there always comes a time when you ask these questions about religion and ultimately most of us decide that it's better for kids to know what is around them.  But I think we all still worry just a little bit.  It's not so much a concern that our kids will find faith alluring, although that's part of it.  For me, it's more about how confusing differing beliefs can be, and how many of them don't get along.  I suppose then, I only really get anxious when I think I'm going to have to explain why sometimes religion just isn't very nice.   

Tonight was a good example. Robotson and I were watching Robin Hood  Prince of Thieves.  Despite the very poor acting, this was one of my favorite movies as a teenager.  I'm sure that had to do mostly with Christian Slater.  I wanted to see it again though because I had always hated the Sheriff of Nottingham played by Alan Rickman.  Robotson and I were talking about his role as Professor Snape and I thought it might be fun to see him play another villainous character.  What struck me as we were watching was how the story is wrapped up in religion.  Robin was off fighting the holy war when he was captured and imprisoned by the Turks.  He saves a Moor during his escape who then stays with him and calls him "Christian".  Robin's father is said to have confessed to worshipping the devil and put to death while Robin is away.  Many people are mistrustful of Azeem, the Moor.  He is even treated very badly by Friar Tuck at a couple of points in the story.  Robotson asked me a couple of times why the characters were doing certain things like praying or insulting one another.   But then something occurred to me.  I must have watched this movie dozens of times as a teen and somehow I completely missed all the religious stuff.  None of it penetrated my brain at all.  It was like watching an entirely different movie this time.  I really got to wondering what I ever saw in Christian Slater, and also how much do we really need to worry about what our kids are exposed to?  That's not to say that we should just let them see and do anything they please, but are they even going to notice most of what we find objectionable?  I am beginning to wonder.

This isn't the first time I've found out that something I really enjoyed as a child appears different from an adult perspective.   Even some cartoons that I see now surprise me with language or violence that I never picked up on as a kid.  Is there anything that you remember reading or watching when you were young that you now view it in a completely different light?  


  1. Another mommy friend and I were having this same discussion not long ago- she was telling me about watching "Grease" with her kids, and being surprised by the language and sexual references which she had no memory of- even though it had been one of her favorite movies and she'd watched it tons of times when she was younger. I had the experience watching "Goonies" with my kids- I remembered it as a funny, fun kid adventure movie with pirates- perfect for my boys! Somehow I'd forgotten the liberal amount of adolescent humor and other jokes that made me wince to watch with my preschoolers. I'd rather my boys not repeat most of it. LOL! We'll save that movie for a little later down the road. :)

  2. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I didn't pay as much attention when I was a kid as my own do now. Then again, I don't really remember much about being 8. Perhaps it's not fair to compare teenage apathy to childhood curiosity.