Is Shielding Children From Unkindness Even Possible?
I used to love watching TV, but I’ve all but given it up.
It’s not a matter of changed viewing habits or shows I don’t like anymore. And I’m not into Netflix or binge watching. It’s just that I think bitterness and contempt have reached new levels and it’s bad for me. Turn on the TV and it’s impossible to avoid:
- TV news offering nothing but negative, sad, dreary stories.
- Politicians constantly spewing venom at each other and turning every move into something political aimed at dividing, not uniting.
- Sitcoms continuing to slither down a slippery slope where values, ethics, and decency mean virtually nothing.
- Late-night talk shows using their celebrity as platforms to push political agendas and get into routine sparring matches with public figures. (Who can stay up that late for these shows anyway?)
- Sporting events running commercials that teeter between I’d-rather-my-child-not-see-that to the completely inappropriate.
- Even social media seems to be nothing more than a forum for anger and animosity.
All of it makes me cringe when I think that our kids are the next generation to watch all this. What will morals and the new standards be like by the time they start engaging in basic TV? Taken a step further, what will it be like knowing that this future generation will be producing shows and content that we’ll enjoy in our golden years?
I realize it’s impossible to protect our children from unkindness altogether. As much as we try, they’ll continue to see it from others, from future classmates, on the school bus – from adults.
What’s a parent to do?
Peace and kindness begin in the home in very small ways. Just as no toddler would be enrolled in graduate school to learn profound theories and formulas, so we start them with tiny lessons and build upon the material as they grow. We’d do well to act with kindness around them and others, demonstrating for them the way to be and what to become.
I doubt I’ll give up TV news entirely. It’s often factual and reports what’s happening in our world. We need that information, and sad, troubling news doesn’t mean it’s wrong – it’s just reality. We can’t change the news that appears each night, but we can make it different in the future.
Once the lessons are taught and built upon each week, month, and year to our children, and we’ve turned them out on their own, they’ll be the ones who have the opportunity to enact real change and become better representatives of kindness for the world.
They’ll make better news. They’ll turn the world around. They’ll be the ones offering peace and kindness, and TV might have a new look.