Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A little insulation, not just in winter

I don't watch the news. I haven't watched it for a long time now.

This is partly because I have a small child who sees all and who asks many questions. I am not eager to expose him to all the horrific events in the world. We do discuss the events of the world on a simplified surface level; he knows that a few years ago, some confused, angry men flew planes into buildings and hurt and killed many people. He doesn't understand it any better than I do. He knows that very recently, there was an earthquake far away and that it, too, hurt and killed people. He doesn't grasp how many; how could he? I don't even grasp how many. He knows that there are lots of fires on the news, and police cars, and robberies. He likes the flashing lights, and that usually distracts him sufficiently and he asks no questions about those things.

But he doesn't need to know yet that children are raped and beaten, starved even. He will have his entire life to learn about the cruelties that people impose on each other, not just on smaller ones but on other adults, too. He can go many more years without realizing that any object in the hands of an evil person can become a weapon. He doesn't need to know that sometimes, people take each other's lives. That sometimes the fire on TV has been intentionally set—that sometimes, it is set on the back of another human being. There is no need for such information to enter his impressionable, imaginative mind.

I don't want to shield him from reality. I suppose I just want to delay it a bit, until he's better able to handle it. (And when would that be, I wonder?) It doesn't help that all the local newscasts—and the national news broadcasts and weekly news magazines and semi-fictional police shows to boot—all of them delight in violence and gruesome detail and the apparent viewers that such gore rakes in. When they're all competing to see which one can shock the most, we are the losers. And as long as ratings rule the airwaves, I will continue to keep the box off far more than on.

I feel out of touch sometimes, but happily so. I read the news online, I skim the more conservative local newspaper on Sundays, and I listen to the radio sometimes; for now, those outlets will have to suffice. I don't know if I'll ever be a regular viewer again. It just doesn't fit too well with the mindset I'm striving to achieve. I know all those awful things occur; I won't insulate myself so much that I forget how fallen we really are. But I refuse to wallow in it, either. Our grown-up minds are no less impressionable and imaginative than my child's, after all.

..Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
-Philippians 4:8

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