Or: On Being Intentional About What We Watch
Yesterday I woke up feeling fretful—about my kids, about their safety…and so I did something that almost always helps:
I drank a fifth of vodka and went back to bed.
(Totally kidding! In truth, I’m currently taking a break from booze.)
What I did do was go to daily Mass, and while there I experienced something akin to what Emily of New Moon called “The Flash.” That is to say, I was inspired. I was inspired by something I saw in my prayer book during my post-communion meditation.
In the [slightly modified] words of St. Peter: It was the Lord.
* * *
Now one of the things that I worry about most is my kids seeing stuff on the Internet that they shouldn’t.
Certainly, there’s a ton of stuff online that’s offensive and as parents, we’ve installed filters to weed out the worst of it. However, what do you do when the offensive material is on websites that you approve?
Specifically: Netflix and Amazon Prime, because we don’t watch cable TV but we (as in every last member of my family) do indeed stream a ton of shows. For example: I binged my way through Atypical last month. LOVED IT and will post a review very soonish.
As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, it’s my job to preview most (if not all) (’cause that’d be impossible) of the programs that they offer. I’m happy to do it, although admittedly, as one of their more conservative reviewers, there are many programs that I simply cannot watch. Orange is the New Black? Not at all my cup of coffee, as I discovered when—mere minutes into the very first episode—I quickly clicked away from a lesbian sex scene.
Um…how is this helpful to anyone to watch?
Again, I realize I’m one of their more conservative reviewers.
Even worse is the thought that my kids will stumble across this content, which—call me controlling because that’s my job—I do NOT want them watching because they’re not 1) Physically or emotionally ready and 2) A pervert.
Again, I am thankful for the parental codes that Netflix offers, but they are pretty easy for smart little minds to bypass.
Here’s the thing: I love Netflix for so many reasons, not the least of which is ALL THOSE AWESOME OPTIONS !
However, I am concerned about their flippant approach to the faith that I take seriously. Little Evil, for example, is a newly produced “dark comedy” about a boy that acts like the Antichrist. Call me old-fashioned (and I’d agree) but I take the powers of darkness seriously.
Don’t you? If not, why not?
I mean, diabolical possession is scary and real. Just pick up a newspaper and scan the headlines…you will see that evil is alive and well in the world.
So why make a series that makes light of it?
Anyway. Because worrying is wasted energy, I decided to compose a prayer to be posted on the inside flap of our two iPads. You may download it here: A Parent’s Prayer for Purity.
As I said at the beginning of this post, my prayer was inspired by these words from The Imitation of Christ , one of my all-time favorite books: Grant me, O Lord, the grace to know what should be known, to praise what is most pleasing to You, to esteem that which appears most precious to You, and to abhor what is unclean in Your sight.
Inspiring, right? And it pretty much sums up my life’s goal—a goal for myself and yes, also my kids. Purity of intention; purity of heart; integrity in what we say, do and watch.
Ultimately my goal as a parent is to eventually trust my kids to let them make their own decisions. Believe me, I’ve had teens who struggled with depression and one of the worst things I could have done was not trust them!
Better to put this prayer “out there” as it were—better to give it God and let it go.
Happy (and safe) viewing!