|image courtesy Phiseksit freedigitalphotos.net|
Sometimes a very cursory review is acceptable. When we're in the library, it often takes nothing more than reading the back of the book or scanning a few pages to make a decision. Other times, my children can say, "So and so read this book and said it was amazing/funny/interesting..." If I know the child who recommended the book (and what their parents allow), I can often give my permission without hesitation.
Sometimes, it's a bit more tricky than that.
Recently, Precious Girl mentioned that she wanted to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Despite all of the recent media hype, I had never heard of the book or the author. (No, I don't live under a rock. I just don't really watch TV that much...)
I did a quick search on our local library's website and found (to my disappointment) that there were over 100 holds on the book. At that rate, she would be able to read it sometime before she graduates...When I mentioned the book to my husband, he said that he'd heard it's being made into a movie and that it was very popular among the middle school crowd.
To make a long story short, we ordered the trilogy with the stipulation that I would read the books first according to our "review policy." I presumed I'd find little to stop Precious Girl from reading it. I had read a review on Focus on the Family (link here). They included some very compelling discussion questions at the end of the article and I felt prepared for what I'd find in the pages.
I was wrong.
I tried to read with the eyes of my little girl, and I was stunned and disturbed at what I read.
Many people I know and respect have read the book and enjoyed it -- but they are adults. As a book marketed and targeted to children, I knew it was not for my daughter's eyes...at least not now.
You see, this post really isn't about the Hunger Games at all. Next year...next week there will be another book hot off the presses that promises to be another bestseller. But that doesn't mean my children will read it. It also doesn't necessarily mean that they won't...
But their father and I will decide. Hopefully with both prayer and wisdom we will decide what books cross the threshold of our home.
For better or for worse we help our children choose what fills their tender minds and hearts. We try to guide them to make choices that will help them learn and grow. Sometimes, they will have to read about difficult topics - but not alone. We will be there to ask questions, to provide answers, to pray. The hope is, that we are raising children who will make good choices in what to read. Choices, not dependent on what is popular, but on what is right for them.
So, for now, our review policy stands. We will not allow the world's standards of acceptability to influence our choices for our children. We will make mistakes along the way, but we will learn and grow and continue to look for
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8 ESV
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