Sunday, January 23, 2011
If This Is Progress...You Can Keep It...
This evening found me in a most interesting conversation with my Faith Formation class of high school freshman regarding our faith and sexuality. Suffice it to say, it was very enlightening...for me.
I am pleased to report my class is very savvy when it comes to what they want and what they hold as important. Do they remember we are created in the likeness and image of God? Yes, they said they know this. I asked how this responsibility comes into their decision making about relationships. To this you could hear crickets chirp...it was not something they really thought about.
This then prompted the question of how modern media supports the idea of us being created in the image of God, and boy did the opinions flow. For example, how does The Secret Life of the American Teenager come into play with regards to their decision-making? They all concurred the show is stupid and makes it sound like all teens are idiots running around talking about sex all the time.
From there we discussed 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. While everyone believed these shows were created with a "reverse psychology" thought-process for young people to see the reality of teen parenthood, as a class we determined many of these shows seem to glorify situations that fly in the face of our faith. According to last Thursday's Today show, a high school in Memphis, TN currently has ninety pregnant teens walking its halls. Methinks the reverse psychology is not working.
I was greatly dismayed to learn a number of my cherubs are fans of the outrageous "Jersey Shore." Not only do I feel this debacle is an affront to our faith, I shudder to think what other countries think of us due to this mess. I asked the students what they thought about the cast and the way they jump in and out of bed with different people with little to no regard for any form of self-respect. Their answers leaned towards it being all for the sake of television; if people don't like it they should change the station. Well, there it is...
Next we moved onto the Kardashians. Every one of the students asked what any of these people ever did to make them so famous and get them their own television show. I said if I ever learned this bit of information I would be sure to let them know. Several of the girls mentioned how the little boy was born out of wedlock, the girls don't seem to respect their Mom, and the Mom seems to think she is one of the girls instead of the Mom. Pretty astute observations for teenagers.
After discussing these programs, I asked them to come up with one current show...just one...that supports family values with no sexual overtones or innuendo, respect for the family unit, and respect for oneself. Again, crickets chirped. One mentioned The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which was a good suggestion, but it is about 20 years old. I shared how I always loved The Cosby's but again, also about 20 years old.
We all left class with the task of returning next week with at least one prime-time show we believe supports our belief of honoring our creation in the likeness of God. As I am drawing a complete blank, I am hoping you can help. In a television world of Snookies, Cartman's, dumb husbands, condescending wives, and arrogant children, I could really use your help.