As you gather to view the big game, here are some things to think about if your kiddos will be anywhere near.
1. Ads impact kids:
When your sons see the racy Carls Jr ad that will be selling hormone free hamburgers, imagine where his mind is then taking him. When our daughters view that same image, she is once again reminded that the sexualization of a woman is how women are valued.
So, what's a parent to do?
A. Turn the tv off during commercial breaks. Yeh, I know it's radical but modeling a life that looks like Jesus is pretty radical. Yeh, I know you may miss out on something super funny or that will be trending and you'll feel "out of it" for a bit. But in the end, guarding the minds of my kids (and myself) is worth it.
B. Talk to kids ahead of time about WHY you're turning the channel/turning off the TV during the commercials. These are PERFECT ways for you to model what walking with Jesus looks like in real life.
2. Half-Time Hoopa:
I remember being out of the country when Janet Jackson had her infamous "wardrobe malfunction." Even being thousands of miles away, I heard immediately what had happened. News like that travels.....and the ripple is heard round the world. Stars who are invited to entertain at the Super Bowl don't intend to NOT put all of their proverbial eggs in this larger than life, once in a lifetime basket. They will push the envelope. Pushing the envelope ensures there is a ripple the next day, week, etc. One report I read stated, "Katy and Lenny are going to rock the halftime stage. We can’t wait to see what kind of chemistry these two share onstage. (It’s bound to be hot, hot, hot!)"
What's a parent to do?
A. Turn the tv off during half-time. Hold back on some of your best snack foods until halftime. Bust them out during halftime.
B. Create a fun family halftime chicks vs. dudes event. Hide various scavenger hunt type items around your home, and in teams, search for them. Have a SUPER fun (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) prize to award. Doing something positive won't leave kids feeling as if they're "missing out." The extra effort on your part may create a new family tradition.
3. Watch it together.
Don't give your kids a pass to watch in their own rooms. Use this as an opportunity to do something fun together. Work together on decorations for your favorite team (even if they're not in the big game) or prepare snacks together before the game. Get everyone excited about watching together. If you have one or more that is too small to follow the game, give them coloring activities or something to do that will still include them in the family activity.
What's a parent to do?
A. Ask open ended questions: (see below)
B. Talk about athletes that are awesome examples of Christ-followers (see this article on Russell Wilson)
Be smart when it comes to what you put before the eyes and ears of your kids (and yourself for that matter). Think ahead. Weigh the cost.
Questions for discussion (just to get kids talking)
Why do you think commercials use women who aren't fully dressed oftentimes to sell their products?
What do you think of businesses using inappropriate messages to sell their products?
What are some things that (in your mind) might make the halftime show inappropriate?
What is it about sports/competition that brings people together?
What are some of the positive aspects of people playing on teams?
How might the game of football be changed if cheerleaders wore sweats and t-shirts while cheering?
Here is a great resource too from Common Sense Media about watching the game with your kids.