I think I am bothered....
(Spoiler alert! If you have not seen the new movie, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and plan to see it – do not read this blog.)
When my first child was three years old, one of his favorite TV shows was "The Smurfs.” One Easter, he discovered a stuffed Papa Smurf in his Easter basket and it became his best friend forever. (Well, at least until he outgrew Papa Smurf.)
A same-age couple at our church felt my husband and I were awful for allowing our son to watch the cartoon, “The Smurfs.” In their spiritual research, they discovered that the Smurfs represented death (after all, they were blue) and they live in a commune with Smurfette being the only girl. I rolled my eyes thinking, “My three year old doesn’t even know what the word ‘commune’ means.”
As my children aged, He-Man became the latest craze. I sat down and watched an episode with the boys. As the cartoon began, He-Man jumped up and stuck his sword up in the air and declared, “I am master of the universe.” I told the kids they would have to turn He-Man off. He most certainly was not the master of the universe in our home. Jesus is the Master of our universe. As far as I know, which experience shows me I never knew as much as I thought I knew, my sons no longer watched He-Man understanding it conflicted with our faith beliefs.
The next hurdle to jump was Madonna. I did not, under any circumstances, want my boys listening to Madonna and most certainly would not allow them watch her music videos. Madonna represented over-the-top sexuality to me and, in my motherly voice, I shared with them that Madonna did not portray the lifestyle our family professed. As far as I know, a Madonna CD never entered our home and she was never shown on our TV. (Of course, you realize none of us really know what goes on when we are not around, right?)
Often times, I look back and wonder why I wasn’t able to carry that same trouble-free attitude from the Smurfs, to He-man, all the way across to Madonna. Are children able to discern truth from fiction? Should we expect them to? When does the secular cross over into their spiritual formation? What causes the most harm: giving children too much freedom in regards to spirituality or forcing such heavy-handed spirituality that they feel no freedom and reject faith all together?
Interestingly enough, one of the most avid Madonna fans in our church youth group has grown up into an amazing wife and mother. She faithfully brings her little boys to church on Sunday and has a profound Christian witness on Facebook.
As part of our family time this weekend, we went to see the new movie “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” It was my idea. Sorry. I think today’s Superman is gorgeous – strictly in a maternal sort of way.
I grew uncomfortable listening to Superman being called “god,” throughout the movie. The nemesis went as far to say that he was “going to kill god.” My mind began to swirl, “Hmmmm….I am not sure how I feel about this.” In the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, there were many innuendos about Kal-El being the “one and only son.”
My grandson announced that Superman would be “resurrected” in the next movie. I quickly said, “No one but Jesus can be resurrected.” My grandson replied, “Maw Maw, it’s just a comic book.”
My granddaughter and I decided that Superman didn’t really die. We remembered how kryptonite caused him to be weak, but the weakness wore off with time. We also realized during the movie that Superman had an extra shot of kryptonite during his battle with evil, so it was going to take him even longer to get his strength back. But, it would come back. After all, he is Superman.
Isn’t it weird how motherly fear never seems to diminish?