The other day, my 3 year old was invited to watch a video with some other little ones while the grown-ups talked. My husband and I usually let him watch TV or play ipod learning apps pretty regularly- almost every day- but his exposure to different shows has been pretty limited up to this point. He’s watched things like: Baby Einstein, Sid the Science Kid, Mary Poppins and the most PG-ish of the bunch, Cars. We don’t watch adult shows when he is around or have the TV on as background noise. We feel like we want to protect him from the media saturation that can happen if we don’t keep a close eye on when screens are on and what he’s viewing.
On this day, he had been watching the selected movie with the other kids for about a half an hour before coming to find me to let me know he didn’t want to watch anymore.
His reason? The movie was “too scary.”
What they were watching? “Winnie the Pooh.”
This made me so, so happy. Some parents might worry that this was an indicator that their child is too sensitive. For me, preserving his sensitivity is a good thing. I want him to have a lengthy, sparkling childhood where he sees examples of kindness, cooperation, and curiosity in the characters he observes.
Consequently, I can be extremely protective of what he’s exposed to. This will be the same for my 10 month old, too. My bubble boys. Like every parent, I try to protect them from concepts they don’t need to know about.
I used to have a book called The Hidden Messages in Water, that described how the crystallization of frozen water can be affected by the presence of either positive or negative words. Words like harmony, peace, and love created symmetry, radiance, and beauty. Words like hate and war had the opposite effect. It’s kind of a cool concept and the pictures of the water crystals from this book really stuck with me.
So when I think about what I want my boys exposed to, it’s the words that created symmetrical, radiant crystals- those that contribute to a harmonious inner life and don’t bring up questions they have no need to answer yet.
Here are some words I don’t want them to even have in their airspace until absolutely necessary.
hate, war, guns, fight, ugly, combat, war, poor, horror, battle, terror, first place, last place, loser, winner, bad, extinction,
Ok, the list goes on and on. As of right now, he lives in a world where people are kind to each other, take care of each other, are gentle, mindful, musical, and fun. I hope that we can keep the media he’s exposed to be reflective of this gentle world for as long as we can. Hopefully he’ll learn that TV and movies aren’t just about entertainment, but also about learning and really great stories. They’re such a powerful tools…I hope we can teach him how to use them wisely.