Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On Seeing Da Vinci

Someone lent me The Da Vinci Code ages ago, long before it became such a big deal. I started to read it, then I put it down -- not because I was offended by the subject matter, but because I thought it was poorly written.

My oldest daughter read the book, and both she and my oldest son want to see the movie. Although I don't really want to add more cash to Dan Brown's coffers, we'll likely go see it.

A few of my friends have taken me to task for not reading the book but others are shocked that I would consider seeing the movie -- let alone allow my kids to see it or worse -- take them to see it.

My kids are smart people. I trust their instincts and their intellects. I've given them my POV on God, Jesus and all things spiritual and religious. They know my expectations of them when it comes to what they do and where they go, but at 13 and 15 I believe they are old enough and mature enough to read a book or watch a movie and determine whether they think it's fact or fiction. They are old enough to be facing these questions whether I'm there or not, whether I 'allow' it or not -- and they will form opinions without my help whether I like it or not.

With very few exceptions, I don't censor what my kids read. Their selections so far have been within my comfort zone -- although my oldest has read a couple of books that made me cringe (and thankfully, gave her the same reaction). My son's taste in reading rarely goes past the sports page, but yesterday we made a trip to Chapters and he wanted the Jose Canseco autobiography. I bought it for him and he finished it tonight (should've gone to the library.)

I'm more cautious when it comes to movies -- but really, they haven't asked to see anything that I felt was too violent or too raunchy, so it hasn't been an issue.

The Da Vinci Code is fiction -- they know that going in -- older copies of the book actually said "A Novel" on the cover. Even if the theory posed by Dan Brown seems interesting or plausible to the kids, shielding them from ideas or controversy will do nothing to sustain their faith if it is so shakey it can be shifted by a book or film.

While I respect the opinions of those who choose to stay away and keep their kids away, I think it's my responsibility as a Christian parent to allow my kids to see the world and choose their path. I always pray it will be the right one (though not necessarily the one I've chosen). I've provided them with a foundation; it's up to them now to build on it. Maybe this movie will make them read more to understand the history better, or maybe they'll shrug and say 'what's the big deal'. I won't keep them from it because I believe that if I were to impose my thoughts on them and insist they refrain from seeing a movie because of its premise, I would be giving the impression of power and value to Dan Brown's fiction -- it would send the message that I believed this book/movie was so significant that it could influence my kids more than I have.

I'm not offended by fiction. Dan Brown's 'theory' will not change my understanding of biblical history. It will not shake my belief system. It won't shatter my faith. If I've been doing my job properly so far, my kids will come out of the theatre knowing they were watching a drama, not a documentary -- and if they have any questions, I'll be there to help them find the answers.



Brian Lemon said...

I (who does a couple of trashy novels a week)picked up a forgettable Dan Brown book a few years ago and quit halfway through. Badly written rubbish with plastic characters.
I spent $8 on DVC, and made it through 6.
The plot doesn't bother me but that such a crappy writer can sell 40 million copies of anything.
Not bugged that I had the plot before he did either:

Anonymous said...

I am a non-religious Liberal. I have not read the book but also plan on seeing the movie. I too understand that it is fiction but hopefully will be entertaining. However that is not the reason I am commenting. I just thought I would say that if more Conservative, Liberals, religious, and/or non-religious people raised their teen-agers with an open mind and understanding as you do we would all be better off. Good post!

Linda said...

The best gift a parent can give his/her child is the ability to think and discern truth. This book/movie provide as much of a teaching/discussion opportunity as anything else - it is an issue in the world, and young people need to understand why this is so. The main reason I won't go to the movie is that I don't want to swell the coffers of the moviemakers and encourage them in creating more drivel. So I'll do the 'Othercott' thing (I have a post up on it), especially as my kids are a lot younger than yours. If they were older though and were ready to engage in the discussion of the issues that the book/movie raise, I would likely do as you are - and take them to see "Over the Hedge" just to even out the box office take. (Good to see you back, C.!)

Les Mackenzie said...

I'm just getting sick of seeing stuff about the movie on the television. Almost every American channel has something about the bloody movie :P

vicki said...

Good post, Canadianna. You are stressing the importance of the use of discernment. I would not worry about my kids seeing it , because they know the truth, and there are many deceptions out there, DVC being one.When I first heard about the DVC it was presented by a co-worker who proceeded to tell me what 'really' happened to Jesus, even tho she had never read the Bible or other historic documents.
The blind leading the blind....

Sharon said...

Great post!!

Canadian Sentinel said...

Wonder what'd happen if someone wrote a "Da Vinci" novel about Islam?

If a simple cartoon could lead to what it has... how about a book? How about a movie?

I guess it's redundant... probably'd hasten what's coming anyway.

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