My stance in the Lucy Library is that stories are powerful. If you’re with me on that, then it means that is it really worthwhile to be intentional with the stories we share with children. This doesn’t mean we have to always “protect” them from stories that might be scary, but it does mean it is probably a good idea to think about what a particular story is telling its audience about the way the world is before sharing it with your kids. Whether it is movies, TV shows, books, or other media, there are three main questions that I think are most important to ask yourself about the story, itself. Ultimately, everyone has their own judgment and values, but I think these questions are good to think through.
What does this story say about human dignity?
Human dignity is so important for children to learn to value and respect other people and themselves. Often, when a story or media is trying to be funny for a young audience, it can fall into being funny at the expense of human dignity, which is definitely not worth the laugh.
What character qualities does the story glorify?
Is the main character selfish or sacrificial? Are they patient or always complaining? Does their character develop towards goodness or are they rewarded for their vices?
How does this story present good and evil?
In simple terms, whose “cooler” the good guys or the bad guys? Often in stories for children, the “bad guys” aren’t depicted as true evil, and the “good guys” are depicted more as “nice guys” than bravely and powerfully fighting for what is good. The result can be that the young viewers admire that bad guys more. While one instance of this is not necessarily a big deal, it’s important that the general story diet we give our kids leads them to admire and aspire towards the strength and power of goodness!
Thanks for reading! What are some questions you think are important when choosing stories for your children?