Every night while I was growing up ended just the same. "Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, and Jesus loves you most of all," my mom would say as she tucked me into bed. The ritual was a reminder, enforced through years of repetition, that no matter how far I ventured out into the world, which can be scary, cold, and unloving, I would always have a safe place with the people who love me and a God who loves me more. This is such an important lesson; children need to know that no matter what happens "out there," they are loved. Love doesn't make problems go away, but it grounds us in something greater than ourselves and our problems.
Most children's movies emphasize can-do messages: You can do anything you want if you believe in yourself! Go out and have an adventure! And then along came Where the Wild Things Are.
Perhaps you've heard of it? In production for nearly 10 years, it was last weekend's highest-grossing film. It's also been the source of much controversy, particularly over whether the children's movie is even appropriate for children.
When a Newsweek reporter asked Maurice Sendak how he would respond to parents who might ask if the adaptation of his book is too scary for children, he replied, "I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate."
But what we allow our children to watch is important. And many children will want to see this movie; the trailer set the hype machine in motion months ago (the first time I saw it, I cried). The movie has been called too philosophical, too postmodern, too psychological, and too bleak for children. Perhaps we think children need something easy to digest. But that is the true genius of the original book, and of great children's literature: It does not talk down ...1
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