Archives For parents

The following comes from Grace Hill Media, a company whose mission is to connect Hollywood and the faith community by marketing movies that uplift, inspire, and transform. Of those, this week I have partnered with Grace Hill to highlight The Conjuring 2. At first blush, scary movies and Christianity may not seem to go together, but I don’t think that’s true. Let’s peel back the skin, shall we?

At it’s heart, Christianity is a religion of blood sacrifice: Jesus was brutally tortured, and suffered a hideous death at the hands of sinful men. And that’s a horror story if there ever was one. In fact, the Bible pulls no punches in its depiction of evil. Billy Graham once said that one of things which makes it God’s Word is that shows us (humanity) as we are. So all of human depravity is on display. Likewise, I think we do the world a disservice when we go soft on the depiction of evil in our media. I think there’s a distinction, and a vast difference, between movies like the Friday the 13th series, for instance, and films like The Conjuring. In the one, the audience is all but made to root for the killer, Jason Voorhees; in the other, evil is shown for what it is. Moreover, that evil cannot overcome good, that is to say God. In one, evil is reveled in, celebrated; in the other, it is exposed. Is that not what we as believers are called to do? Bring light into dark places?

Beyond that, in the words of director Scott Derrickson, “horror is the genre of non-denial,” e.g., it brings us face-to-face with that which we fear the most: the unknown, death, etc. The monsters are metaphor for our fears, and movies (books, too) give a safe space to vicariously face our fears. Usually, it is in horror that the veil is rent asunder–there is no denying the supernatural. Evil is a force that is real, but we can resist. Good can, and does, triumph.

I understand that others may come to a different conclusion; I respect that. But please don’t slag on my enjoyment of things that go bump in the night. With that I’ll leave you, and turn you over to Grace Hill’s parent’s guide:

 

With THE CONJURING 2 in theaters this Friday, it’s only natural to think about scary movies. For some of us, the thoughts are about avoiding them at all costs, but for others there’s excitement at thinking about getting a good scare from our theater seats.

 

But what about our kids? Especially at younger ages, they can be truly disturbed if they happen to see something onscreen that frightens them. It may not even be a well-made supernatural horror film like THE CONJURING 2 – certainly not for pre-teens – but could be something they see in one of their favorite cartoons that raises fears.

 

What can you do as a parent when this happens to your son or daughter? Here are a few tips from the experts at Focus on the Family:

 

  • The first thing you need to do is sit down with your child and give them the chance to discuss the film openly. Ask them what they saw, what they thought about it, and how it made them feel. Whatever you do, don’t make light of their fears or dismiss their feelings as silly or immature.

 

  • Once their emotions have been aired, assure your son or daughter that this was only a story, just like the imaginary tales they may have seen in picture story books. Bad things weren’t happening to real people – they were actors playing a pretend game, like they and their friends do.

 

  • Reassure your child that you, as their parent, are dedicated to protecting them. Let them know that it is one of your most important jobs – ensuring they feel safe and are safe. Reinforce that message with plenty of hugs.

 

  • If you are a Christian family, you can explain that God has promised to be with them at all times, even in the midst of danger. Open up the Bible and show them the passages where God promises never to leave us or forsake us (Genesis 28:15; Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). Pray with them about the scary movie and their fears, and encourage them to pray on their own when they become frightened at night. If it seems appropriate, you can also practice some coping techniques with them, like deep breathing relaxation exercises or visualizing a happy place.

 

  • One last thought: it is definitely not a good idea for you to sleep in your child’s room or to let them sleep in your bed. That will only reinforce the behavior you’re trying to eliminate, encouraging them to act helpless and dependent. So whatever happens, make it clear that you will not be sleeping with them. Instead, find some other way to make them feel secure, like turning on a nightlight for a while or letting them take a special stuffed animal to bed.

 

Come to think of it, if you go see THE CONJURING 2 and you’re still a little scared even after the credits roll, feel free to take your favorite stuffed animal to bed with you, too.

>A Coward Like Me

randomlychad  —  October 22, 2010 — Leave a comment

>

A Coward Like Me
      I’m a coward. Let me get that off my chest right now. I am a fearful man. Like most folks, I want you to think well of me. And I’m afraid of what you’ll think if you see the real me. Which is one of the reasons that this blog exists—to push myself past the fear, to encourage those who, like me, are afraid to be real. Despite this, I’m still a coward. Let me explain.
      For most of my Christian walk, I thought it was my duty to preserve the peace at all costs. I did my level-headed best at this, and most times failed miserably—leaving hurt, angry parties all around me. As an example–for the better portion of the last twenty years–I let my dad be rude to my wife in myriad ways. I say “let” because I allowed it to continue (I don’t blame him). Instead of standing up for her, I acted out of the conviction, the sacred duty, that I must keep the peace. My precious bride, mother of my children, I failed her so miserably. And that is just one example.
      All this came to a head on Father’s Day of 2009. My dad called to wish me a happy Father’s Day. He called on my wife’s line.
“Hello?”
“Is Chad there?”
“Who’s calling, please?”
“Chad’s dad.”
“Oh, hi. This is Lisa.”
“I know. Let me speak to Chad.”
She handed me the phone, tears welling in her eyes… And I choked. I had an opportunity to handle things then, and didn’t. As I reflected on it, it grew inside me… And I emailed him. Told him he wasn’t welcome to call until he took an etiquette class and at least be polite on the phone. But even in this, I took the coward’s way out: I used email. At the time, I told my wife that I was too angry to call, but I was probably too afraid. There was a tension inside me—contorting, twisting—that squelched my courage. I felt like a little boy. And what little boy can confront a grown man?
      I did this again recently with a friendship that wasn’t growing as I hoped it would. While I think it right and proper that I did the pruning, I again used email to do it. Again, I shrank back from the discomfort of confrontation. If I had it to do over again, I would invite this friend to sit down with me so we could hash it out together (the outcome may well have been the same). But I don’t. And that is my encouragement to you: don’t shrink back from the uncomfortable situations in your life—press through them. For it is in them that we grow. Don’t be a coward like me.