My 5-year-old daughter has recently become very interested in suspenseful movies and shows. My husband has been letting her watch Star Wars(PG) for a couple of years now. He usually fast forwards through the violent scenes, but as she gets older she is more interested in watching what the bad guys are up to. This weekend he decided to let her watch X-Men(PG-13). I was in and out of the room as they watched, but what I noticed was how many times she went running to hide from what was happening on the screen. She told us that she really didn’t like to see people being hurt.
When she said that I realized that this is the way we all should feel. It shouldn’t be about whether we are 7, 17, or 57. The sad part is, the reason that it is ok for a 17-year-old to see a rated R movie is because by that time a person is usually so desensitized that the things that should disturb them, don’t. Once we are adults we have seen or experienced so much violence and lewd behavior that we don’t even flinch at the sight of it anymore. But I’m also sure there are kids whose real lives are so painful that a rated R movie’s got nothing on what they see everyday. In my opinion, the ages assigned to movie ratings should be discretionary. It doesn’t really matter how old you are, but how much your soul as been exposed to.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to give my soul a break. I don’t watch Law and Order, CSI or any other gratuitous shows about murder anymore. I leave the TV turned off as much as possible, mostly just tuning in for laughs. I read a lot of self-help and spiritual books that inspire me and I spend at least 30 minutes a day in complete silence. I hope that I am becoming like my daughter and getting back some of that sensitivity I’ve lost over the years.