Kids' Movies and the Formation of Worldview

Recently, my husband told me he had watched an interesting Disney short that he would like me to watch. I'm a big fan of Disney Shorts. They're typically very cute and enjoyable! So naturally, I was excited. But as he began to explain to me the premise of the short and why he wanted me to watch it, I became concerned. Concerned at the pace at which the media we consume is moving to gradually (and not so gradually) shape the worldviews of our children.

"Out" was released in 2020 and portrays a gay man, Greg, struggling with the idea of "coming out" as homosexual to his parents as he prepares to move to the city with his boyfriend Manuel. In a strange series of events, Greg switches bodies with his dog, Jim. As the short continues, Greg, who is in Jim's body, works hard to prevent his mother from finding a picture of him and his boyfriend. Eventually, Greg and Jim switch back bodies and his mom says, "What is wrong with you?" referring to how he was acting like a dog. To which Greg replies, "nothing." The next scene is Manuel and Greg together showing affection through a kiss and Greg's parents happily embracing Manuel.

This is not the first time Disney has portrayed a homosexual couple in their films. Just last year in the movie "Onward" there was a quick line in which a female police officer said: "It's not easy being a new parent – my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?" Although not the focus of the scene, the line was a small nod to the LGBTQIA+ community. Now being less subtle, Disney comes out with an explicit push toward normalizing homosexuality for children.

You may be asking, "What does this mean for me? Are you saying I should avoid these movies?" Not necessarily. What I am saying is that either we will be proactive in shaping our children's worldviews on issues of sexuality or the culture will do it for us. It seems like the culture is not shy nor shameful about taking on that responsibility. Are we? Do we avoid these topics with our children because they are uncomfortable for us?

Scripture is not shy nor uncomfortable with its stance on marriage and sexuality, nor should we. As parents, we have a God-given duty to share with our children God's heart on such issues. So how do we go about discussing these things with our children?

  1. Know what Scripture teaches. Scripture teaches that marriage was established early on in the creation narrative to be the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27, 2:23-24). The Old Testament includes laws against homosexuality and it also describes narratives such as Sodom and Gomorrah which portray the sinfulness of homosexuality. The New Testament is in harmony with the Old. Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 when speaking about marriage and divorce in Matthew 19 and Mark 10. By referring to the creation account when speaking of marriage, Jesus is affirming the created order. First Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, and Romans 1:26-27 are also clear. This article by Tom Schreiner describes well the New Testament ethic against homosexuality and its background in the Old Testament.
  2. Speak to your children before the culture does. We might think we have time to wait to speak about these things because our kids are too little. But we don't have as much time as we often think. Popular culture is moving quickly to teach our children what they should believe and they are doing it through the entertainment our children watch. We need to be a step ahead of where we think we should be in sharing these truths of Scripture with our children.
  3. Share what is age-appropriate. When we think about speaking to our kids about sexuality, some of our hearts race with nervousness as we immediately think about giving our young child "the sex talk." But it should start simply: talk to them about their body parts. Talk to them about the differences between boys and girls and how we interact with them. Speak about how to appropriately touch others. God Made All Of Me is a great book to help facilitate the discussion. Model a biblical marriage in your own home. As your child matures, your conversations will deepen.
  4. Talk about marriage. Speak to your children about God's design for marriage. Why is marriage good? What does marriage represent? Why is marriage between a man and a woman? Take your children to weddings.
  5. Don't shy away from their questions. Sometimes when our child asks a difficult question we want to run 100 miles away from it. We change the subject, redirect, or give a super vague answer. But part of parenting is answering hard questions. If our children do not receive sufficient answers from us they will seek out other means of gathering that information. Take advantage of a good question from your child.
  6. Use books and videos as a launching point for conversation. Say you did run across "Onward" or "Out" or any other video that may come along soon. Use these videos to your advantage to talk with your children about what God says about marriage versus what the world says. Using movies to understand the Christian worldview can be a great teaching tool for children. In addition, there are some short children's books recently published to help jumpstart age-appropriate conversations with your children books such as: God Made Boys and Girls: Helping Children Understand the Gift of Gender and God’s Design for Sex, a four-part series that helps you address the topic of sex with your children at age-appropriate levels as they grow. These books are very blunt and explicit. I'd suggest reading them in their entirety before reading them to your children and also deciding what portions you believe are appropriate at each age level. All these books are launching points for conversations, remember that these conversations are best as an ongoing conversation rather than a one and done.

Our culture is not slowing down when it comes to teaching our children about sexuality. We must not shy away, but rather proactively teach them God's design for sex and marriage. If we don't, someone else will.