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February 13, 1998     The Message
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February 13, 1998

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1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 :ered moments to listen, teach and bond !BYANDREWAND TERRI LYKE ed enough for adult tastes and tame Catholic News Service %: and tastes or considerations film for the family to daughter, Andrea, is COnscious than our 12-year- r. A recent movie outing was Little Girls. Marry SOme time with friends special pre- the church bomb- helped fix pub- racism. The of the from news- witnesses, figures of the a raajor difference of this in its in-depth con- families of the four killed. With the photos and give voice to the vic- the horror the The girls became much like ours. We girl in similar cir- horror. OVer dinner with revealed how and how she movie viewing learn- .InOment. is charged with good case for cen- us differentiate the in movies. And be exposed to in movies, them with that help them to themselves. find movies fit- ly  sophisticat- enough for children's eyes and ears. As our children have grown, the search has become more complex. Thus far we've succeeded in striking a balance between our parental responsi- bilities and our children's need to be morally responsive -- and responsible -- without becoming cultural hermits. We sometimes allow "questionable" movies with the stipulations that: -- We view the movie (or TV program) with our children, and -- We have discussions during and after the movie, particularly about con- tent that concerns us. At times a film's language and content have proved much more risqu6 than expected, even when rated "PG." And dialogue, though involving children, is not always fit for children. Many argue that the language is noth- ing more than what children hear at the playground. We counter that the play- ground is a level arena in the moral chal- lenges children face. When it comes to "language, slang, jokes, children have their own culture. The moral values they bring from home are the predominant influences on what they will and won't participate in. No, movies won't make our children "cuss," but obscene language in movies too often normalizes bad language used in playlots and works against values we teach and live in the family. Society's obsession with sex has many parents focused on the sexual content, while at the same time ignoring graphic violence in "action" films. We feel we need to be equally cautious about films in which problems are solved through violent means. In this age of gratuitous sex and vio- lence in the media, we are very careful about what we expose our children to intentionally. The Lykes are coordinators of marriage ministry to the. African-American commu- nity for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Marketplace High School, Evansville, were asked, "Was there a film that in your home about faith? In what way?" ! the movie IDead Man Walking], I became radically opposed to My father disagreed with my mother and me, and a fight kept our original opinion, but we did talk for hours about t film with helping shape my values. Kelly S. Martin, Mter Dei High School good faith was A Life Goes on. [A] boy who had I other people and still lived through it all. Rebecca Pictor, Mater Dei High School L, , great discussion into my household. The family was split Was right in killing those men who raped his daughter. --Jon Strauss, Mater Dei High School about everything surrounding them and puts faith off the impossible. --Ryan Scheu, Mater Dei High School there Were many scenes focused on faith. These scenes drew Ong my family and friends. Tracey Reising, Mater Dei High School Andrew and Terri Lyke took their 15-year-old daughter to Spike Lee's "Four Little Girls," a film on the heinous church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. It "fit ..... " " .....  ........ a the genre of documentaries of the civil rights era, they d, r - conversation over dinner with Andrea after the movie revealed how deeply she feels for others and how she thirsts for justice." CNS photo by Dennis Whitehead Encounters Continued from page 8 conscience in a 15-year-old boy named Igor. His father arranges for illegal immigrants to come into the country, provides them with housing and a job, then uses their precarious situation to exploit them. From all appearances, Igor is to be his father's son and inherit the family busi- ness. Then one of the immigrants, a man from Africa, whose wife and little boy recently have arrived, becomes critical- ly wounded at work. Before he dies, he whispers into the ear of the young man: "Promise me you will take care of my wife and baby. Promise me." The boy hesitates, then nods and whispers, "I promise." The rest of the movie shows how this plays out and the choices the young man has to make. The movie is La Promesse (USCC, A-II, adults and adolescents), a subtitled film from Belgium. Be advised there are some violent moments between the father and son. Father Wallace, a Redemptorist, is associ- ate professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union. Food for thought So many, movies are viewed at home these days! This phenomenon presents a great opportunity for parents and children to view movies together and con- verse about the values they depict. What can parents do next to initiate a relaxed, meaningful discussion based on a movie? I have room only for a few suggestions. If possible, praise" the behavior of a character in the film or cite some- thing positive about its message. Allow children to "view" what you value. To start a conversation rather than a lecture, ask a question. For example, say: "Who did you admire in the film?" Or, "Do you think so and so foresaw his actions' consequences?" Or, "What caused these people such pain (or hap- piness)?" To express criticism, try saying something like, "Here is how the film made me feel," or "What I really believe is..." If your child asks "ay?" the door to the conversation is wide open. Listen for your child's perspective. And resist the temptation to argue endlessly if a child challenges your view. More of what you say is g heard than you suspect. And you'll be able to return to this subject in the future. Touched by an Angel, The Preacher's Wife, Party of Five, Star Wars, and Schindler's List. For more comments, David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!