Monday, May 2, 2011

Clearing the Air

I was planning to start a little something new this week but I feel like I need to clarify something before I do that.

I mentioned in a couple of previous posts that Ryan and I discovered the television show "Parenthood" during its second season and that we were thoroughly enjoying it.  Enjoying it so much that we decided to treat ourselves to the entire Season One DVD.


We have now watched the first four episodes and have been a little underwhelmed and to be completely honest, quite disappointed.

We know that no TV show is perfect and always portrays upstanding, moral, Christian citizens.  And really, one of the things we love about "Parenthood" is that each of the characters is flawed in some way.  Family situations aren't handled perfectly.  There isn't always a happy ending.  There is no riding off in the sunset.  The plot lines present some teachable moments and give us several interesting topics to talk about with our big girls.

And of course, we can so relate to Adam and Kristina, the parents of a child with autism.

But in case any of you have decided to start watching the show based on my recommendation, I feel like I should issue a disclaimer.

Season One, based on the first four episodes we have watched, is really nothing like what we have seen in Season Two.  I'm not sure at what point the program finally "hit its stride" and became the show that Ryan and I know and love but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

The first episodes of "Parenthood" are much like other programs that we don't choose to watch because of constant "in your face" references to sex, drugs, and inappropriate behavior, coupled with thinly veiled tolerance messages.

I prefer to continue watching "Parenthood" from the second season on, as the absence of the above is what makes the program different from anything else on TV.  And when there is inappropriate behavior, it's presented that way - inappropriate.

That still doesn't mean we agree with everything on the show.  Many times Ryan and I stop the DVR and let our girls know that we would not handle a particular situation in exactly that way.

For example, take the character Haddie, a 16 year old girl on the show.  She was forbidden to date a particular young man.  So of course, she did exactly what you're thinking she did - she snuck around and eventually got caught.

This brought up an excellent time of discussion with my daughters.  Would I ever forbid them to date someone?  How would I handle that?  What kinds of "ground rules" would be laid down?  What would be the consequences of breaking those rules?

Many of us with teenagers know that half that battle is being prepared and that particular episode gave all of us a chance to "prepare" ourselves should a similar situation arise.

Ryan and I cheered but our girls were appalled because Haddie's father removed her bedroom door and nailed her window shut.  But the message was unmistakable:  because you snuck around, we can no longer trust you.  Trust is earned and you need to prove to us that we can trust you again.  Until that day, we will always have our eyes and ears on you.

They also agreed to let her see the young man but only in their home, spending time with their entire family.

So far, so good.

But later, they discover that Haddie is having sex with this young man.  This time, while both parents really struggle with this knowledge, the mom ends up taking her to the doctor to get on a birth control pill.

This would not be my response at all.

So yet another great discussion ensued, especially between myself and Ryley.

What's the point of all this, you ask?

Really, I simply don't want you to watch Season One of "Parenthood" because a preacher's wife recommended it, therefore thinking that it must be good and that I approve of all that goes on.

I believe in theological terms, this is referred to as "covering one's butt".

Watch at your own risk, understanding that it is not a Christian show.  Use it to capture teachable moments with your teenagers.  And don't feel like you need to watch Season One because you like Season Two.

Now, will you please place me back up on my Preacher's Wife Pedestal?


Enjoy your Monday!


  1. Yeah, we find lots of teachable moments watching The Jersey Shore with our pre-schooler. (I jest, of course. We don't even have cable.)

  2. At least your girls won't be surprised at how you would handle certain situations. I think it is great you are using this show to grab teachable moments before things get out of hand. Gives your girls greater insights as to how you and Ryan will react about certain things. Some of us wish we could have done the same things when our own children were would have saved a lot of heartache later.

  3. We watch a lot of wrestling with our kids. So many "self defense" teaching moments. Plus, who needs exercise when you can watch it on tv. Although, just because I'm a preacher's daughter don't run out and buy seasons 1-12 of "Women Kicking Rear," on DVD. Or do.

  4. OK Jaime and Allison - both of you made my whole family laugh! I would imagine there are multiple opportunities for teachable moments during Jersey Shore. Thankfully, I don't believe Parenthood has sunk to that level yet. And since we live with a child who should probably consider a career in professional wrestling, I'm afraid to let her watch for fear she'll pick up some new moves. Maybe I need to check out Women Kicking Rear myself.

    Teresa - my mother was a big believer in "role play" teaching. I can't tell you how many times my brother and I would come down for breakfast, bleary-eyed and tired, and she would hand us our waffles and then say, "OK. You're at a party and someone offers you pot. What are you going to do?" Maybe not the best breakfast conversation but we were definitely prepared!


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