Thursday, July 28, 2011

Observations of Columbo with my son

As a Christian I try hard to limit my exposure to the profligate life styles portrayed in the theaters and on television, preferring the less "in-your-face" shows and movies.  However, as a father, I am even more keenly aware of that to which my children are exposed.  In this regard, I strive to maintain a balance.  I neither wish to become a legalistic iron-fisted totalitarian nor the anything-goes parent.  I do not believe you can shelter your children from all evil in this world, but I strongly believe you can build a base of principles in your children by which they themselves can make wise moral decisions.

With that in mind, I found myself during this summer with my children at home all day, wanting to enjoy a good TV show with my family.  At first, we decided to watch the Monk series via Netflix.  My children were extremely amused by the obsessive compulsions of Adrian Monk.  However, after only a few episodes, it became apparent that the seemingly benign show was replete with profanity and even some occasional sexual connotations, something to which I do not want my children exposed.  It then occurred to me that there is no modern show that I could feel safe watching with my children.  It was about this time that the news came about the death of Peter Falk.  In a mood of nostalgia brought on by this news, my wife decided to Netflix an episode of Columbo and, being a show from the early 1970's, knew that it was perfectly fine for our son to watch with her.  Thus started the summer trend of watching Columbo with my son.  My daughter will even join us, but she seems less captivated by the disheveled antics of Detective Columbo than my son and I.

Last night, while engrossed in yet another murder mystery that only Columbo could solve, my son and I were discussing the differences in the life styles of today versus those portrayed in the show.  I commented on such things as: "Notice that no one has a cell phone?", "Do you see anyone wearing a seat belt in their car?", "Did you hear the price of those expensive shoes?  We couldn't buy a cheap pair of shoes for that much today.", "Did you notice how those people greeted that person right as they were getting off the plane?  That's not allowed today."

It was an engaging conversation with my son that led to comments from him such as: "Wow, you were born at a cool time.  How many freedoms have we lost since you were a kid?  I wish things were like they were back then."

The lesson from this experience is that we have lost so many freedoms over such a long period of time, that most of us fail to realize the full impact.  It is the slowly boiling frog phenomenon at work.  Only when we look back at life from a generation past and submerse ourselves in it for an hour or so that we truly begin to comprehend the full severity of our condition compared to those of our childhood.


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