Monday, October 19, 2009


I remember a Public Service Announcement that came on every evening at 11:00 p.m. It went something like this; "Parents: It's 11:00. Do you know where your children are?"

I'm sure the intent was to increase parental vigilance regarding their children's doings. So in like manner, I toss out this PSA. "Parents: It's quiet time. Do you know what your children are reading?"

Writing is considered a craft, and words and ideas are our tools. Words and ideas are powerful things. Anyone in the media knows that all too well. A good author can make you laugh and cry within the confines of a few sentences. Now that's power. A skilled author can embed ideas into your psyche that take you places you never intended, and sometimes, never wanted to go. The same is true for your children, and ideas once planted are almost impossible to remove.

Of course, we all want our children to enjoy reading. Books expand minds and hearts, taking the reader to places and worlds beyond their physical reach. But literature, like life, boasts some hazards, allowing readers to vicariously experiences a vast array of situations, emotions, choices, and consequences. Some will be appropriate for your child. Some will not.

I'm witnessing, from a far, the affects a controversial novel is having on a young man as it challenges truths that once brought him happiness, leaving him nothing but questions and confusion.

But it was a bestseller. . . Remember, controversy, as well as quality, drives sales.

If you're not sure about a book's appropriateness, read it yourself before choosing to pass it on. Don't be afraid to say no and explain why you find a certain book objectionable. And don't buy into the philosophy that your son or daughter will benefit from reading, no matter if it's junk.

The mind is a fertile field. We must take care about what seeds are sown there.

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