For yourself and your family, where do you draw the line here? The Bible makes it clear that practicing sorcery and magic is wrong (Revelation 21, many other references). So do you let your kids watch the many Disney movies that feature magic and witchcraft? The Lord of the Rings is good versus evil, but there are wizards on both sides. The Wizard of Oz has good witches and bad witches, but the Bible is clear that there is no good witchcraft.
Then there is the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. There's magic on every page, but it's a great, metaphorical story of God's love for us.
So I'm particularly interested in how you handle this subject with your children.
I don't really draw a line, not until I come home one day and see my kids trying to offer the family cat as a sacrifice (David Goodwin must be shuddering right now!)
But seriously speaking, anyone ever noticed that Gandalf in Lord of the Rings almost never did anything wizardish?
I'll let them read books, even Potter. As I said before in one of my blogposts, I am not a Potter critic. I read all that kind of stuff when I was a kid, went through my RPG phase (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, anyone?) didn't have to go for deliverance or anything like that.
What I WILL watch out for is TV in general (Hong Kong and Taiwanese soap operas are horrifying!) and music in particular. Thinking back about my efforts at detoxing my mind, I realize that the most damage in my life came from TV and bad music. So that's what I'll be really picky about for my kids.
I try not to see all these ...........But for the Kids I think I have to take all the suggestions from Junjie....I like his way of control so much but not now because I dont have kids now.Junjie is quite good in controlling kids.
My kids are 19 and 21 now. I think "age appropriate" is the key here. When they were toddlers, I didn't let them see anything remotely occult or having any violence. Grade school, Power Rangers, Hook, TV, but Captain Planet was out (Gaia, etc.) as was Harry Potter. My daughter still tells the story of her 3rd grade teacher asking if there was anyone not allowed to read Harry Potter. Her's was the lone hand raised. Her mom would cringe at that, but it gave her the confidence to stand on principle even if you're the only one. She still has very strong convictions about right and wrong.
When they were in middle school, I left it open more to them, but still wouldn't allow cultic music. When they were in high school and were driving around in their own cars (and obviously no way to restrict such things), it was totally up to them. Of course, I did find one CD in my son's car with about 10 F bombs in as many seconds and trashed it. He also went to see Harry Pothole movies. I expressed my disapproval but reinforced that it was his decision.
I think it's about their progressive understanding of the difference between fiction and reality and their increasing understanding of good/evil, God and the devil. You have to loosen the reigns at the right pace so that when they get off on their own, they know what you believe and why and are prepared to accept or reject your judgments having thought them through on their own.
So far, I'd say I'm having mixed results with that...but so will you.
I totally HATE Power Rangers. It teaches my kids to move weird. And it's so powerful an influence that my kids will want to move like what they see on TV rather than how they see ME move. That's an insult! :)
I'm fine with kids seeing REAL martial arts, though. I brought my son to my class a few times to watch me getting beaten and bruised and crying out in pain. He found it cool (wonder why?). And my instructor cleaned up his language loads when he saw my kid there. THAT was funny!
I think that most kids are aware that fiction books are fiction books. As parents we have to teach them the dividing line between fantasy and reality.
I let my kids read all that stuff - I had to explain to them the Christian meaning in the Narnia series, knowing that CS Lewis had written them as a Christian. Non-Christian 'wizardry' books for children are usually 'good versus evil' stories, with good triumphing over evil.
My youngest son started the Harry Potter books at the same age Harry Potter was so he grew up with each stage. I made a point of reading them too, just to keep an eye on things, and I have to confess I couldn't put them down! It is true there is no good witchcraft and if my kids had wanted to put into practice what they read or their minds had been influenced for evil then I would have stopped them reading these things. My son is a totally committed Christian (age 18 now) and has shown no ill-effects from reading books which he knew were fantasy.
I think that as children get older it is up to us as parents to guide them by weaning them off the 'fantasy' of good and evil and teaching them about the reality of evil from the Bible - making it clear that the Bible is not fantasy, but the true Word of God.
I agree with Junjie, that bad TV and bad music are more dangerous.
My kids are 12 and 15. They do not read any books or watch any movies that contain elements of witchcraft/sorcery, Potter included. They do love to read, mostly normal stuff that we grew up reading, but are themselves very selective with the movies they watch. And this is their choice, although I must admit that when they were younger, we taught them from the Bible, as Dale put it...that there is no good witchcraft...no matter how it is packaged. I firmly believe that what the Bible teaches cannot be compromised, whether it be on this issue or any other issues that are spelled out clearly in the Bible. With that, I must also admit that it is getting increasing difficult to live a life that is holy (ie 1 Pet 1:16, 2 Pet 3:11) without being branded a "fanatic", "extremist" etc etc...(sigh)...
One thing, though. Sometimes there's some really good stuff among the bad.
For example, Eminem has this track called Cleaning Out My Closet. It's a powerful expression of his angst and pain. But listening to it puts me in line with his obscenities and all that. I got a scratched-out, censored version from Malaysia (Praise God for strict moral codes!), but I do know what the words are.
I wish there was some way to show them the good stuff within the bad myself. That way my kids will know that Daddy isn't the stodgy spoilsport they think he is... My boys are 7 and 4, so I still have some time to think this over. :)
But you have to be careful. Their abilities for discernment grow as they grow. I wanted to be careful that what they were exposed to was consistent with their progressive abilities to see that most of what Marshall Mathers had to say was dung and that some of the things in Potter books have a dangerous connection with real life occult people and practices.
I always think about this in light of when I was about 15 and listening to Jimi Hendrix. "Hey Joe, where ya goin with that gun in yo hand?". "I'm goin down ta shoot my ol lady, you know I caught her messin round with anotha man". My 15 year old mind was thinking, "Well yeah, I can see if I caught my wife cheating I'd have the right to kill her." My fingers are a little shakey just typing that. Sure, I knew it was against the law and all, but that I thought it was completely understandable. Now you can write this off to me being a gullible, dumb kid...maybe more gullible than average, but it takes some years and experience to shed that gullibility for all children.
I have 2 girls, 3 and 20 months so I haven't had to come up against this yet, however, I feel that one overriding principle is where the source of their influences. I want to make sure that myself and my wife are always the primary influencers in my daughters lives. We live in a fallen world and as hard as we try it will always have some influence on them. The language of other kids in the playground, school curriculum and TV are all powerful influences. I need to make sure that overriding all of these is our influence of love and showing them Jesus. As Scott can testify from what he wrote, it is true what it says in Proverbs. "Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it" If we sow good values and teach our children to make wise choices, they will be able to discern for themselves what is good and what is not.
Well said, Mark.
I found that the biggest apparent influence on my own three boys was peer pressure, but as the years passed the values we had sown were a deeper influence under the surface and enabled them to learn to be discerning when making their own choices. Sometimes they learned the hard way, however!
My middle son was like the prodigal son - he rebelled for years and it was heart-breaking for us, but a couple of years ago he gave his life to the Lord and is now involved in the worship team and going strong. However, his rebellion was due more to peer pressure and rejection of Christ than what he read - he was never interested in wizardry or witchcraft stories, whereas the youngest who read all these things has been the one who has remained strong and steadfast in his faith.
It is difficult at times and as parents we are also learning by our mistakes as we go along. I used to look at other kids in the church and wonder why mine were not 'perfect' like them, and it is only now that they are grown-up that we can see the truth in the Proverbs verse you quoted.
We should pray for all our families in the church as they bring up their children - I believe it is getting harder for them and they need our support.