I took Ellie and a friend to Prince Caspian last night. And honestly, I loved the movie. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. I think I loved it most because I was able to view it through the lens C.S. Lewis intended, with Aslan as an allegory of Christ. I'm not going to say much more about it because I don't want to spoil it the first weekend it is out. I will just say, if you view Aslan through the filter of divine deity, it brings more depth to the film. And if you choose not to, the film is excellent without it.
But this post is not about the movie. Can I talk a minute about the 11-13 year olds in my life?
We don't watch a lot of TV around here. Some Cartoons on Saturdays, some Discovery Channel on Sundays, and an occasional American Idol or so. I don't watch the news and most of my TV viewing I do over the internet, with my headphones on. But I didn't realize how different that really is from other families until the past few days. On Thursday, I was taking my oldest and her friends to dance, and they were discussing news coverage of some gang related violence somewhere in the world. (I wasn't listening very closely, apparently) They were frightened by this. Even though our community is fairly quiet and mostly harmless. I could feel genuine anxiety over potential gang violence and them getting caught in the cross-fire. However that news story was presented, it effectively made suburban tree-lined America feel specifically dangerous to these 13 year old girls.
Last night, before the movie, Ellie's friend talked about several recent things, including an interview with Madeline McCann's parents, another 20/20 story about an abduction, and then the old Elizabeth Smart abduction came up. And again, there was a palpable anxiety there. These children believe that they could be abducted by strangers at any time. "In broad daylight" was said a lot. Because somehow, the thought of stranger abduction is made more frightening by it happening during the day rather than being snatched from your bed in the middle of the night.
Are we doing our kids a disservice by allowing them to see the constant attention things like Natalie Holloway and Elizabeth Smart and Madeline McCann? Several of my children's friends have issues with continued anxiety. But my girls are largely untouched, even a little baffled by the intense emotion. I think it's because the news is not constantly on, filling our house with worry and anxiety and fear. Which I am glad of. I want them to feel that they can be kids, and play outside, and walk to friend's homes and ride bikes together and not be constantly worried that someone might kidnap them. In broad daylight.