Children are far from innocent. I learned this when I volunteered at my church’s Super Bowl party last year, and I was put in charge of the inflatable football throw. I initially left the children to sort themselves out. This was a horrible idea. Two developments happened. First, the group of children created chaos. They were pushing and shoving each other to grab a football and then jumping onto the inflatable if they did not get one. After a few minutes of this, the older children began to create order. They decided that they would throw the football as many times as they would like, and leave everyone else in the lurch.
This is when I stepped in and created an equitable structure by having them form a line and take turns. Each child had a turn, and everyone had a fun time. I learned an important lesson. Children need to be guided. They do not instinctively treat others fairly, nor do they treat others kindly. Left to their own devices, they are evil little creatures.
Most Shows Portray Children As Independent and Adults as Idiots
Most television shows and movies would disagree. Children are incessantly portrayed as sages. They are the ones with powerful insights, and lead adults toward their redemption. Take, for example, Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The movie is full of laughs, and most of them come at the expense of the idiot adults. This is entertaining until the end, when the movie flips the role of parent and child. Originally a children’s story book, Alexander was supposed to be counseled by his mother that bad days happen sometimes. The movie does the opposite. It is Alexander, the youngest in the family, who shares his epiphany with his parents and siblings.
This alternate universe found in entertainment creates an unachievable precedent for children to live up to. Rather than a child being allowed to fail, they are expected to have the answers. Adults have their priorities mixed up. Adults are idiots. Adults cannot be trusted. Are children supposed to go to them for help? According to most shows, no.
Your Voice is Louder Than Television’s
We adults must pursue our children and guide them. Engagement and involvement is the best way to do so. Just banning our children from watching television is not the answer. Rather, watch a show with them, and talk about it with them. They may see that adults in the show are idiots, but you will show them that adults in the real world are not. Your involvement and your guidance will communicate more than any show will.