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Children of Conviction

by Ronald A. Rowe | September 2nd, 2011 | Elementary, Helpful Hints

The other day my 10-year-old son came home from school and reported that his friends laughed at him because he didn’t know who Eminem is. That unpleasant interaction brings to mind the age-old quandary – where is the line between keeping our children above the influence and keeping them out of touch?

I’m thrilled that our son prefers to listen to the Christian pop station in our area. That’s his choice, and I fully support it. But should he have a finger on the pulse of popular culture? Does it matter if he knows who Lady Gaga is or what happened to Amy Winehouse? I know that there is a danger of going too far in the isolationist direction. I’ve known homeschooled children who were so distant from the pop culture that they simply could not relate to their peers. I don’t want that.

I also don’t want an ‘average’ kid who is a slave to the latest trend. There’s definitely a middle ground here. Like most aspects of parenting, the level of cultural immersion is a matter of striking the right balance.

Children, like adults, need convictions. They need to know who they are and what they value. If they don’t have a core set of beliefs, there is nothing to anchor them when the inevitable peer pressure comes about. A little pop culture isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A well-rounded individual gathers a fair amount of knowledge beyond their personal experience. Most adults know the endings of Citizen Kane, The Empire Strikes Back, and Soylent Green even if they’ve never seen the movies. (If you haven’t seen all three movies, I suggest you go to your local video store – if it hasn’t already gone out of business – and rent them immediately, but that’s beside the point).

If our children are secure in their own identity, they are less susceptible to the dictates of their peers. Children who are grounded in who they are will avoid either extreme – they won’t be lead astray by their peers nor will they suffer greatly for being their own individual.

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