Sunday, March 29, 2009

Guarding Neil's Heart

If you read my other blog "Kingdom Treasures," you know already that the Raffertys are huge Disney fanatics.

Yesterday, we had a banner Disney Day, first by hitting the newly-released 3D movie, "Monsters vs. Aliens." When we got home, we continued with Disney happiness and glee, watching one movie after another, first "Prince Caspian," then "Aladdin."

After that, although 8 p.m. is Neil's bedtime, I relented to let him stay up for the next Disney channel movie, "Mulan."

None of us had seen "Mulan" before, and we didn't know anything about the plot. But I knew its theme song was really pretty. And in general, we've been trying to expose Neil to diverse cultures and languages. He loves watching a Chinese cartoon girl on Nick Jr. named, "Kai Lan," and he can parrot Chinese phrases with the same ease as he does Spanish on "Dora the Explorer" and French via small lessons from me.

So I was looking forward to watching "Mulan" with him, and we snuggled together in our recliner under a warm and heavy crocheted throw.

Within 10 minutes of the opening, someone in the movie was praying to their ancestors. I thought this might just be a passing nod to Buddhism. But then the movie made continued references to that theme. Soon, I realized that "Mulan" was more than about a Chinese girl's adventure ... it was built on the idea that when she prayed to her ancestors, they sent her protection and watched over her.

I debated with myself over whether to turn the show off. But then I decided that my kid should be taught about this early on. Yes, he's only 5, but he is also astute enough to understand many complex theological concepts with which many adults struggle.

I handled it this way: I explained to Neil that we don't believe in praying to our family members. We only pray to God, and we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so we pray to him as well. But we do not pray to "ghosts" like Mulan did.

He nodded and said, "OK, Mommy."

End of subject.

You might think I'm making a mountain out of nothing, but I do worry about the influences in my child's world today. Really, do you think that Disney would make a film about someone praying for Jesus to help them? Highly doubtful. Yes, they went so far as to produce the two Narnia films, but even Liam Neeson, whose voice is used for Aslan, told reporters he thinks Aslan represents the Native American religions. Nothing is really as overt as what I saw in "Mulan."

We work hard in our home for our child to have a clear, undiluted message about Jesus. We want there to be no question in his mind that his parents believe and trust Jesus as their Savior. We know that when he reaches the age of accountability, he will have to make that decision for himself, but for now, we're doing all we can to guard his heart. When I see a seeming-innocuous mention of another religion that is counter to what we know to be true, I rail like a mother bear. I do what I can to make sure he loves other people without prejudice, but also that he does not take their gods as his own.

What about you?

What are some issues you've had in presenting Truth to your children?

How can I pray for you? How can I pray for them?

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