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The Cider House Rules (free prime streaming here or purchase here) is not for the faint of heart, parenting-wise, but it’s a very well made film with a lot of themes we need to be discussing with our children anyway.
Some things to think about:
Abortion: Is it right or wrong? Is it okay to take a child’s life because it is inconvenient for the parents? Or because the child may grow up in less than ideal circumstances? Is it better to provide women with “safe” abortion services, even if you don’t agree with the practice, so as to prevent more harm to human life than absolutely necessary?
Marital Relations: Why is it so difficult for people to abstain from relations outside of marriage? What are the consequences? Is it possible to avoid succumbing to this particular temptation? How can we safeguard this most beautiful gift for the sake of our future spouses, and for ourselves? (A not-just-for-kids picture book: The Princess and the Kiss)
Morality: What – or who – is the source of our morality? Does morality depend on our feelings about a situation, or it is an objective reality outside of ourselves? The Toby McGuire character changes his stance on abortion when faced with a pregnancy from an incestuous relationship. Is that valid? Is abortion always morally wrong or does it depend on the circumstances surrounding the conception of the child? Are there other cases where a wrong might be considered right? Or are these always evils to be avoided at all costs?
I’m looking forward to talking about these things – and more, I’m sure – with my older children today, and probably for the rest of the week as the thoughts take form in their minds.
And here’s a thought for moms: Do you shy away from being a moral authority for your children because you, too, are a sinner? Do you feel that your own sins negate your right to guide them in the way they should go? (Have you read Kristin Lavransdatter? I was most saddened by this story; the whole plot is driven by a premarital/extramarital affair and it’s consequences, the most noteworthy of which being that Kristin does not ever feel she can claim her role as moral guide, because she committed the same sins.)
If I’d remembered exactly what this film was about before I suggested it, I might have shied away, but it’s really very well done. Not too graphic, and what is shown doesn’t feel gratuitous. Do you watch and discuss films like this with your older kids?