A message to parents and students:
Never, ever, ever read a book, watch a movie, or see or hear a play or story or poem performed without answering these questions:(Don’t read a book to your child or let anyone read a book to you without doing this, either.)
Do “wise” and “good” people in the story believe that spirits inside everything can guide people?
Do they follow a religion that is supposed to be older than Christianity or the Bible and therefore “better”?
Do they live “close to the earth” in simple lives without technology and don’t believe in any kind of killing, even for food or to punish great evil?
Do they believe that tribal people and animals are smarter and nobler than civilized people?
Does the work say to “listen to your heart” or “trust your feelings” because that’s how you’ll know what the right thing to do is?
Does it emphasize separating children from adults and forcing them to trust themselves to make extremely important decisions? (An exception to this is if a child is separated from parents but can rely on the biblical training he received from them, not just his own emotions, abilities and reason.)
Do children go through much of the work relying on other children?
Do children distrust adults in conventional authority positions (parents, teachers, police, community leader)? Is this presented as “the only choice” and at the end of the book “the right thing to do”?
Do children rely on very unconventional people who live outside accepted systems of moral values and mature practices? (Some examples are the uneducated or dropouts, street people, former criminals who are “streetwise” young, inexperienced persons in lower authority positions (like a “cool” teacher in a very strict school)?
Does it say that things are going to happen for reasons that nobody can control (not even God’s overall plan)?Does it imply that whether what someone does is right and wrong is just a matter of opinion?
Does it encourage strong expressions of anger, grief and depression when things don’t go the way a character wants? Does it say having an adventure, joining a secret club, or helping friends can be more important than being with your family or doing what you’ve been told?
Are the men (dads or male principals or bosses) bad, stupid or weak?
Are the women strong and smart and good?
Are any good men unable to help, dead or far away?
Does it make fun of traditional hard work and self-discipline?
Is training for a job or learning to play an instrument boring, stupid or pointless?
Are young people encouraged to cut classes or skip work for something more important?
By contrast, does it glorify martial arts and Eastern religious practices as superior to any western or Christian-based discipline? (This is not to say that unarmed self-defense and fighting skills are wrong or evil in themselves, but they are frequently taught along with Yoga, meditation and eastern religious practices in opposition to Christianity.)
Are people who have a lot of education boring?
Are military people excessively strict, bad-tempered or stupid?
Are people who quote from the Bible or classic Christian-origin works treated as odd or foolish?
Are strong emotions emphasized and encouraged, no matter how extreme or out-of control they may be?
Is self-control de-emphasized and made to seem wrong or unnecessary?
Are manners old-fashioned and respect for adults non-existent?
Is concern for and service to others not as important as “making time for yourself”?
Does it have a good, strong story, or is it just a bunch of exciting, scary, mysterious or funny things with no real purpose or ending?
Does it seem to leave out anything to do with faith or praise people who don’t believe in anything?
If you have to answer yes to more than a couple of these questions, ask yourself if you should have anything to do with this work. It may have won all kinds of awards. The best educational authorities may recommend it. But it may be very wrong and get you thinking wrong.
Everyone seems to know that four things are obvious to avoid: violence, sex, drug abuse and bad language. But examine each of these points and consider whether our perspective on these is even correct.
What about displays of affection and a degree of intimacy between husband and wife? These are almost non-existent but should be common. In most cultures of the world girls marry very young, and marrying an older man is considered normal and desirable. We consider it practically incest. Husbands and wives seek comfort, understanding and fulfillment with friends instead of each other. Husbands are plain, rather stupid, and have no clue about how to treat their wives. They want sex all the time and ask for it boorishly. They are at least mildly incompetent at their jobs. Wives are attractive, smart, make jokes at their husbands’ expense, and keep everything running smoothly, from finances, housework and careers to discipline and child-psychology. These anti-marriage concepts fill the pages and the screens of what we accept as desirable family fare. Movie insiders say actors who are married in real life cannot play a creditable husband and wife in a movie. There is no “chemistry” unless there is an adulterous flavor to the screen romance. These works do everything they can to justify adultery. A person is trapped in a terrible marriage with an abuser or an insane or terminally ill spouse and must seek consolation with a lover. Parents who restrict or forbid dating and young romance are always unreasonably strict, have no good reason for forbidding this young love, and punish supposedly far out of proportion to the action.