Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Movie Nights: A Technique For Teaching Biblical Worldview

How can we equip our children for adulthood?  What skills do they need to avoid being deceived and losing their faith?   How can we prepare them to recognize subtle spiritual attacks?  When Christianity requires that they swim against the tide of the rest of our culture, will they know and be ready to do so?

Photo:  Mitja Ribic
With each successive generation, young people are spending more time as consumers of media.  Their attraction to this form of communication makes them particularly vulnerable to its messages which shape and infuse the culture around us.   As George Barna states, "God's enemies have adopted the media as a means of exposing children to ideas and images that are harmful to their development as servants of God."  How can we mediate this powerful influence on our children?  Can discernment be taught?

A fun and effective way to teach Biblical worldview and critical thinking skills involves using movies, the form of media most likely to elicit a strong emotional reaction.  Movie Nights are mentioned as a technique in Revolutionary Parenting, a book which reveals extensive research into the common principles and methods used by parents who have raised spiritual champions.  Want to know more?  I highly, highly, highly recommend this entertaining and informative Movie Night Chats podcast by Kurt Bruner where explains how he has used Movie Nights with his own family.  (Did I mention that I highly recommend you listen to the podcast?--Yes, it's that helpful!)  Also included are some amusing video clips from interviews with other parents and kids who use Movie Nights.

Benefits of Movie Nights include:
  • Stimulating discussion about spiritual matters
  • Learning to perceive subtle messages or bias
  • Understanding the underlying belief system of writers
  • Strengthening Biblical worldview
  • Evaluating these influences in the light of eternal truths

The critical thinking skills that it hones can be applied to music, other forms of media, books, news coverage of current events, and lectures given by college professors.  Not only will your child gain clarity in their thought processes and reinforce their faith, they will also be learning how to communicate these beliefs to others.

Photo:  Bmaksym
The effort for these benefits is minimal--watching a movie with your family and talking with them!  If you feel you need some help getting started or just want a little more guidance, you may want to check out these resources.  Kurt Bruner hosts Movie Night Chat blog which gives a synopsis of suggested films, points for discussion, and relevant Bible scriptures.  He also shares some tips for screening offensive content.  Heritage Builders also has two books: Movie Nights for Kids and Movie Nights for Teens.  These books provide the same information as you will find on the Movie Night Chat blog but contain more detail and examine different movies.  I particularly appreciate the meticulous focus on "cautions" for each film where they describe anything in the movie that could be potentially scary or offensive.  In addition the books provide some follow-up activities and suggestions for making this an effective technique to use with your family.

Movie Nights can create wonderful family memories.  Through Movie Nights, you initiate dialogue about topics that are hard to discuss.  They can also provide a training ground for skills that will serve your child for years to come.  Some families do Movie Nights on their own.  Others have group Movie Nights with other families.  However you choose to do Movie Nights, have fun!

If you use this technique, please share your experiences.  I would love to hear about it!

Oh, and don't forget the popcorn!
Photo: Microsoft Images

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. I'm looking for resources for passing on the faith to my children's children. I appreciate this movie night idea and look forward to learning more about it. Which of Kurt Bruner's podcasts are you recommending? The link is broken :( Is it "Inklings of God"? I found movie nights chats website but there was no podcast available there. Thanks for the help~ :)