Guarding a Child’s Character

In view of the school shooting last week, I’m surprised no one asked to borrow Assassination Generation. If someone had, however, I wouldn’t have been able to read to the class from it the shocking story line from Grand Theft Auto V. And to say it was shocking is an understatement.

If I can’t get parents to read the book, I do hope I can at least get them to look over the video games that their children and teens are playing. The video game industry came up with a rating system that leaves much to be desired, but at least does indicate that A (AO): Adults Only, and M: Mature videos contain intense violence, blood and gore, graphic sexual content, and strong language. Even T: Teen may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, blood, and strong language. E10: Everyone 10+ is considered to be generally suitable for ages 10 and up, but may contain mild violence, mild language, and minimal suggestive themes. E: Everyone is generally suitable for all ages. At the very least, parents should monitor what kind of games their kids are playing.

Acknowledging the connection between what children see and hear, and their behavior, is nothing new. More than two thousand years ago Plato had this to say:

“And the beginning, as you know, is always the most important part, especially in dealing with anything young and tender. That is the time when the character is being molded and easily takes any impress one may wish to stamp on it.
…Then shall we simply allow our children to listen to stories that anyone happens to make up, and so receive into their minds often the very opposite of those we shall think they ought to have when they are grown up?
No, certainly not.
It seems, then, our first business will be to supervise the making of fables and legends, rejecting all which are unsatisfactory; and we shall induce nurses and mothers to tell their children only those which we have approved, and to think more of molding their souls with these stories…
A child cannot distinguish the allegorical sense from the literal, and the ideas he takes in at that age are likely to become indelibly fixed; hence the great importance of seeing that the first stories he hears shall be designed to produce the best possible effect on his character.”

God Bless, Rick

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