A lady on one of my homeschooling forums recently posted a request for suggestions for nonviolent children’s literature. I wholeheartedly support her quest.
But (you knew there had to be a but) I had some thoughts to share, and I’m going to share those thoughts here with some additions slight changes. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the issue.
I have a friend who deliberately allows her teenage boys to read violent books, watch violent movies or play violent video games WITH the caveat that in their selections good is good and evil is evil, and that her boys are on the side of good in the games. Choices like that video game where the goal is to steal a car and get away from the cops are NOT allowed.
Her logic in this is that they are growing up in a culture where they may one day be in a position to fight for good over evil, and to protect their families. She wants that to be a part of their character.
My own logic is that this is a part of the world. Think about the hero of the Old Testament who hammered the enemy’s head to the ground with a tent peg! I’d much rather talk about the violence in the world with my 14yo daughter than for her to find herself in a real-life situation where she has to make decisions with no character to draw on. If the reading selections are bringing up good, character-building discussions, I’m pleased.
(I feel the same way about the boy-girl thing. We don’t read or watch sexual material, nor allow our daughter to do so, but I’m not like my friend who will not allow her girls to see or read anything with boy-girl content. If one of my dd’s choices leads to a discussion of how a character’s feelings were hurt or another character focused on romance instead of godly love…I’m pleased.)
Plus, from a storytelling perspective, there MUST be conflict, or there is no story. Of course, it doesn’t have to be violent conflict. And any goriness does not have to be described in detail by the author, either. I have to admit, there were sections of Homer we skipped for that reason. War, war, war, gory stuff happens…yada, yada. We didn’t need to dwell on it!
All of this is just my opinion, and it is absolutely crucial for her to do what her children need. (For instance, we avoid stories with animals that get hurt or die for my particular daughter. They cause her to fall apart.) I applaud both of my friends AND the mom who posted for nonviolent material for seeking God’s best for the children He has given each of them.