Judge me if you want, but I let my daughter watch Nick Jr. The shows teach her shapes, colors, letters and numbers. But I won't let her watch just any show on Nick Jr.
While I enjoy watching Blue's Clues and Dora with her, I refuse to let her watch Peppa Pig. What's the difference?
In Blue's Clues the main male character is either Steve or Joe. Joe replaces Steve when he goes off to college. In this show you have a positive adult male character who uses his critical thinking to solve Blue's riddles. I also like that Steve goes off to college.
In Dora the Explorer you have the two main characters of Boots and Dora. I think they could and should do more with Dora's dad plotwise, but: 1. He coaches her baseball team which certainly a positive trait and 2. He is otherwise just there, which sadly compared with most other TV dads almost puts him into the dad hall of fame. Boots's dad from what I remember is an engineer of some sort, which is refreshing to see a dad with a technical degree where in reality fewer men are growing up to get any kind of degree. Both of their dads show up to special events like plays, games, etc.
Then there's Peppa Pig. The father in that family of four is shown as completely incapable of doing anything right. I cringed the few times I watched it as I saw him messed up one thing after another and his children and wife inevitably laughed at him and often times made mocking comments.
I know that these are just shows, but my daughter is young and impressionable. Television has always had characters that we laughed at because they said or did things that were incredibly moronic. Barney Fife is the perfect example. However, it is becoming more and more standard its seems with shows about families that the father is the idiot.
I'm sure that my example outweighs those of television in my daughter's eyes, but that doesn't mean that I have to let my daughter see shows on TV that denigrate fatherhood and dismiss its importance. How many times have athletes and other celebrities been chided because children look up to them? For impressionable young viewers what the difference between at TV character they will never meet in life and a celebrity they will most likely never meet. We already live in a hit-it-and-forget-it/deadbeat dad world where fewer and fewer children grow up with their fathers in a vicious cycle that has led to our present situation where almost half of the pregnancies in the US are out of wedlock and more and more children grow up in single mother households. Children look for father figures where they can find them.
Don't get me wrong! Motherhood is essential for children too and I admire women raising children on their own who are doing the best they can, but having a father around significantly increased the odds of the children staying out of poverty and out of trouble. The problem usually isn't the mother; its usually a father who can't be bothered to love and protect his children. I found this list of statistics on fatherless children. You can read them for yourself, but I want to point out these three: 85% of youths in prison came from fatherless homes. 63% of teens who commit suicide lived in fatherless homes. 90% of runaways and homeless children come from fatherless homes.
I don't let her watch Peppa Pig because I refuse to have anything to do with shows that treats fathers and fatherhood as something to be mocked and derided. It is important that we should not watch these sorts of shows to have the sacred institution of fatherhood exalted and lauded. Furthermore though we should remember that God has described himself as our Father. The metaphor works because everyone had a father. That's not always the case anymore. If we lose touch with who a father really is, how much harder will it be to understand who our Father is?
May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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