Reflections on Children’s Entertainment
Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor. It is a wonderful biopic on the life of Fred “Mr.” Rogers.
Today, I was rereading one of the best books I’ve ever read called You’ll See It When You Believe It by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Although the book is filled with a ton of wisdom, depth and insight (and I highly recommend everyone read it), one of it’s main premises is that our thoughts are powerful. The thoughts, images, visions and dreams we have are powerful in creating and attracting what happens in our life.
A couple of simple examples to illustrate this are that if we are in debt and all we think about is debt, guess what we’re going to attract? You guessed it: more debt. Conversely, if we orient our thoughts to the feeling and experience of receiving abundance in our life and we work towards creating more abundance, there is a high likelihood we will attract and receive more abundance in our lives.
I’ve always felt the sharpest and most poignant illustration of this came from the great Mother Theresa who knew the power of thoughts and intentions. She understood what we think about most is what we will attract in our lives. Here was her response when asked why she never attended “anti-war” rallies:
“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
She understood that thinking about and focusing on war versus peace was only going to attract more war.
We become what we think about most.
Between the Mr. Rogers biopic and the book, my mind kept drifting to the entertainment we feed our children from a very young age. Think about the contrast of watching Mr. Rogers versus Looney Tunes.
With the advent of entertainment, at a very young and impressionable age, we are literally feeding our children the script of guns, war and violence. If you grew up watching Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Wile. E. Coyote, Roadrunner and Porky the Pig as I did, you were served a healthy amount of blowing people’s faces off, dropping anvils on others’ heads, sending people careening off of cliffs and stuffing people in ovens, turning up the gas and throwing in a lighted match.
How much more insane and cruel could we be as a society? There’s a part of me who wonders how these shows ever got approved? And how are they still playing on the air today?
There’s also a big part of me that wonders how much of the entertainment we were feeding our children had do with breeding them to think of war and violence as a way of life? I’m not a natural conspiracist but it wouldn’t be a stretch for me to believe there was backing and support from the military industrial complex in ensuring our children were fed violence and war from a very young age.
And now, about 80 years post the broad distribution of violence in children cartoons and entertainment, is it any wonder we continue to see the world through a paradigm of war and violence? And that the one line item in our federal budget that continues to grow above inflation, population and GDP growth is on military and defense spending?
I’m not convinced there is a connection nor am I ruling out the possibility a connection exists.
I’m just standing for taking a critical look at what we feed our children and how that informs their worldview and mental orientation at a very young age. I understand the world is and can be violent and we need to be prepared to protect ourselves at all times.
But what would a world look like if we had more Mr. Rogers and less violence? What if our childrens’ minds were filled with more peace, caring, understanding, compassion, learning how to compromise, learning how to respect people different from ourselves and learning how to better understand and positively handle their own emotions versus resorting to violence?
I have a strong hunch if the majority of the entertainment we chose to feed our children was meaningful and compassionate, we would breed a more meaningful, understanding and compassionate society. I believe entertainment can have a great impact on how a child forms and how this formation will impact their thoughts and beliefs when they become adults.
Given the current state of our society filled with intolerance for others, increasing levels of anxiety, mental health issues and lack of compassion and inability to compromise, greatly improving the quality of entertainment we feed our children would be a great place to start.
Maybe this will be my next venture…………