Recently while I was out of town, I had to see a doctor in an urgent care clinic. As unpleasant as that experience was, it had a couple of bright spots. One was that this doctor quickly identified the problem and prescribed a remedy that worked almost immediately. Another was the opportunity that I had to talk to him about our family’s mission. He was particularly interested in my work with teen girls through “Pure on Purpose” and various purity days and girls’ camps. Turns out he’s about to become married to a woman who has a pre-teen daughter. He was very interested in obtaining some of our materials and sharing them with his wife-to-be. So I will be making a more pleasant trip later back to his office to deliver them.
The toughest part of my office visit that day was a point in conversation when this Italian Catholic immigrant physician told me that he was enjoying living in the USA far more than he ever expected. “You see, in Europe,” he said, “it is very easy to believe that everyone in America approves of sex outside of marriage and other forms of immorality. You have to actually come over here to realize that the media’s portrayal is incorrect and that there really are many God-fearing people in the U.S.”
Imagine that! I had never really thought about what sort of picture I would have of my native land if all I had on which to base my impressions was television and other forms of mass media. How sad that so many people all over the world believe, as did this man, that Americans are, by and large, base and vile people–unethical and unprincipled.
This brings me to the belief I have long held that television influences people rather than accurately portraying them. The “which comes first, chicken or egg” dilemma when it comes to television and immorality finds its answer, I believe, in this man’s observation. We are not nearly so vile in America as we are portrayed during prime time. Every other word is not a curse word. Every other house is not home to homosexuals and every other twelve year old is not sexually active—yet. Hundreds of murders are not yet occurring weekly in your neighborhood. It’s still your television screen where that’s happening.
But we aren’t running too many years behind prime time. Chances are, if we are seeing it now, it won’t be long till we are living it. If our kids are vegetating in front of very violent video games, to the point of dangerous addictions, their tendencies to be violent will increase. If they hear the Lord’s name taken in vain hundreds of times in acceptable settings on the screen, they will become tolerant to, then anesthetized by, then involved in the sin. That’s just the way it works.
“Television doesn’t have much of an impact on behavior,” you say? Try telling that to corporations which are spending millions of dollars for a thirty-second spot during a major sporting event. They’ve got their money on the opposite theory. Let’s start living and parenting in the real world…a world that’s often manipulated by the unreal world of television.
Don’t forget: Podcast tomorrow night. Melchizedek the priesthood, the bullock, and linen breeches! What do they all have to do with His sanctified people in 2012? Remember, we love all the Diggers, but callers MAKE the podcast! Tomorrow night I will be joined by Hannah Colley Giselbach. I’m all about that!