Pauline Harte

Raising G-rated children in an R-rated society

Pauline Harte · July 29, 1997

There has been much letter-writing to The Signal about the pros and cons of children viewing R-rated movies. I have a couple of questions for parents who think it is just fine for impressionable, young children to be continually exposed to the mindless violence and immoral behavior depicted as normal, everyday living in most R-rated films.

Would you give your child a pack of cigarettes and a beer? Would you give a ten-year-old the keys to the car? No, you say? That wouldn't be too good for a child, you say? Then why would you want to pollute a child's mind and stunt that child's spiritual development? Isn't your child's psyche as important as your child's body?

I remember a conversation I had with Dr. Richard Rioux. "Doc" and I were discussing the general insensitivity of children these days, and I told him how frustrating it was trying to raise G-rated children in an R-rated society. Doc said it was like swimming against a fast-moving current. But he gave me some very encouraging advice and told me to "keep on swimming."

I was reminded of this conversation when a Signal writer accused a Mrs. Weiss of keeping her children's head in the sand when Mrs. Weiss objected to R-rated movies being shown to her child in school. Mrs. Weiss was told to "get a life."

Mrs. Weiss should be given a medal for having the guts to speak out against the illogical decision of her child's teacher to show "no-brainer" movies in school. There are too many educational tapes available that should be shown in school, and teachers should not assume that all parents are mindless twits. Only movies like "Schindler's List" would be the exception, and permission slips should be sent home to parents for any R-rated movie.

And to the writer who told Mrs. Weiss to "get a life," I say, get YOUR head out of the sand and take a look around. What do you think happens to kids who grow up watching garbage movies and listening to "gangsta" rap? What do you think happens to kids who grow up with no parental supervision because mommy and daddy are too busy "getting a life" -- a life that has nothing to do with the spiritual development of their children?

A good many of these kids become gang members or wanna-be gang types. Teen pregnancy is on the rise, and too many kids are dropping out of school. Drug and alcohol abuse numb the harsh realities of their useless lives, and we taxpayers pick up the tab left by their unfit parents.

Many TV shows aimed at our youth glorify promiscuity and anti-social behavior. Disgusting rap music and satanic rock groups teach kids to hate and murder their fellow human beings, and too many parents look the other way. They're just too busy "getting a life."

Little kids should grow up on Sesame Street, not Elm Street. And teens may be too old for Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but they are still too young for R-rated movies.

Of course, some parents will defend their sub-standard parenting by saying that their children turned out "just fine" and R-rated movies and other garbage didn't hurt their children one little bit. I say, how can anyone play Russian Roulette with the future of another human being?

So, to all of you parents who are criticized for loving your children enough to guard their spiritual well-being, remember the words of Dr. Richard Rioux.

It's hard work swimming against the current. But don't get discouraged! If you look around, you will find that you are not alone. We are raising children who will be the future caretakers of our world. Be proud.

And keep on swimming!

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