Talking With Our Kids about Glee

In January of this year, Kaiser Foundation’s “M2″ Media Consumption report shocked parents when it was revealed that today’s 8-18 year-olds average 4 hours and 29 minutes of television programming each and every day. Kaiser, Nielson and others all agree, the television set still is the biggest media draw for kids, despite rumors that TV was dying.

The question is, just what are our kids watching?

If you asked a random selection of teenagers that question in the last 12 months, you’d probably hear the word “Glee” more than almost any other word. In just one year, Fox’s Glee has grown to be one of the most watched television shows by teenagers.

The Glee buzz has grown louder in the past few weeks, with the release of Season 1 on DVD and Blu-ray, and the premier for Season II this Tuesday, September 21.

So what should parents do with this show?

The short answer is: talk about it!

After weeks of researching the show and then even asking you all your two cents last week in my blog, I’ve posted my article about the show on TheSource4YM.com website as this week’s Youth Culture Window article… an article titled, To Glee, or Not to Glee.”

Here’s just a snippet from the middle of the article:

 So, what content are young viewers absorbing from this show?

Glee deals with real issues that teenagers face today, showing consequences and hurt. The writers tell it like it is, warts and all. Name it: teen pregnancy, bullying, self image, and equal rights. But at the same time, the show sends mixed messages. It’s often coarse, laced with sexual humor, and preachy in support of the homosexual lifestyle. (One of the show’s writer/creators, Ryan Murphy, is gay, several of the cast members are gay, and the show has a huge LGBT following.)

Christian parents always ask me: Should I let my kids watch Glee?

Even though I could possibly offer some guidance toward the answer to that question, I hesitate to answer it because my response would negate the purpose behind it.

Allow me to explain: The answer to that question is, Parents must help their kids figure out for themselves if they should watch the show. The process itself is much more important than the answer. In other words, if I or some other author or radio personality were to simply say, “No, don’t let your kids watch it,” I’d hate to think that parents would default to just answering, “Sorry, Jonathan says ‘no,’ so that means the show is bad.”

Parenting isn’t that simple. And I don’t mean to make a cliché with that phrase. Truly, parenting is anything but simple. The fact is, most teaching opportunities take time, effort, and thought. And if parents are truly living out that Deuteronomy 6 passage (Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up… Deuteronomy 6:5-7, NIV), then we’ll be dialoging constantly with our kids about the influences around them, the temptations they face, and the decisions they make. These conversations will require a lot of guidance with younger kids, slowly leading to more freedom as they get older. After all, when they’re 18…it’s really up to them, isn’t it?

This means that my 15-year-old and 17-year-old might be able to discern right and wrong in a situation better than my 13-year-old. Last month…

CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
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8 Responses to Talking With Our Kids about Glee

  1. anonymous says:

    honestly, this article was severely biased. obviously you want parents to decide on their own if students can discern right from wrong, but really, it’s not that easy. It’s not a question of discernment, but a question of learning. Of having a conversation while something is happening, not having the conversation, then sending our kids out into the world to make decisions on their own. And its not as simple as black and white. Madonna is not bad. Michael Jackson is not bad. Ellen Degeneres is not bad. And just as you said, Amy Grant is not “good”. The continuum is thicker than right and wrong. Perhaps we need to teach our kids to show a little grace in the world. To offer compassion. To be like Jesus. And perhaps we need to accept our kids for who they are–whether thats a teenage parent, a proud gay individual, or a goody goody.

  2. Thanks anonymous. I’m not sure what article you read… because I, and my article, agree with most everything you said. I just said it with a little more grace… and posted my name. :)

  3. Benjamin Spears says:

    Great article! Thanks for stressing the idea that we need to promote critical thinking in our students/kids. I did notice, however, that in the linked article, there are a lot of punctuation errors (particularly the poor apostrophe, who seems to have been transformed into a weird question mark icon throughout). This made the article a little hard to read.

  4. Thanks Benjamin, glad you enjoyed it.

    As for the punctuation errors, I think that maybe your browser is having some problems. I just checked the article again, it’s fine. I’m viewing it in Windows Explorer 8. Try it on another computer and let me know. For curiousity’s sake, what browser are you using?

  5. Jenny Windle says:

    Thank you for your article. I know for me personally I need to watch what my children are watching and be able to have conversations of why they should or should not be watching it. Phil 4:8 tell us to fill our minds with things that are true, pure, lovely and admirable. it is very easy to just let our kids watch anything so we don’t have to argue with them but it takes work to be a good parent and it is certainly worth it.

  6. Curtis says:

    To me it seems there are some basic Biblical prinicples to apply with media, especailly tv. Phillipians 4:8 and Psalm 101:3. I like to say, I only watch shows/movies that are rated ‘PGL’ …pure, good, and lovely as Phillipinas 4:8 says. Also, Psalm 101:3 tells us not set any vile thing before our eyes. Why can’t we teach our kids these basic principles instead of giving them fuzzy guidelines?

  7. I wonder how many more people are going to quote that same Phillipians verse that I talked about in detail in this article. :)

  8. Mike McGuire says:

    As a parent whose kids are grown, I can also say that parenting today appears to be a daunting and challenging task (much more than it was for us in the 80′s). A good article. I can tell you looking back that the talking we did with our kids and their observance of our attitudes had much more of an effect than I would ever imagined as a “young” parent. I was struck by the first post (by Anonymous). It was written well, but to say that ANYONE “wasn’t bad”, presupposes that Anonymous knew everything about that celebrity (which they didn’t), and that what the press agent says is always true (not). The word “lukewarm” comes to mind. Either you have a standard by which you live your life, or you don’t. We are ALL bad by God’s standard and I choose to remedy that following (as best I can) what Christ said. This little wisp of life here on earth is not the end. To think otherwise is a gamble with long-term consequences.

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