My older sis was a true tomboy when we were growing up. She’s found her softer frillier side more and more in adulthood but she’s still more comfy in a T-shirt and jeans and drinking a beer than she is in skirts and sipping a glass of white zinfindel. My sis was also a “nerd”. She wasn’t the play basketball or football with the guys kind of tomboy. So, she played Dungeons & Dragons with the other geeks, since she didn’t really share the interests of most of the girl geeks, and she read through fantasy and science fiction novels with the same totally focused attention my little brother has long given to TV episodes and DVD collections of Star Trek, BattleStar Galactica, Babylon Five, Smallville and whatever else.
Since my brother came along, my folks have spent less time worrying about the evils of fantasy and swords & sorcery stuff an all that…maybe because my sister goes to a nice conservative Baptist church, volunteers in the Sunday School and is married to a teatotalling accountant who, to the best of my recollection, I have never hear utter a single swear word. But my sister got it bad from mom and pop. Oh so many times I heard some gasp as mom went into my sister’s backpack and came out with a copy of Lord of the Rings or something like that. “These are the devil’s books!” was a typically result of such discoveries and if my sister didn’t hide her books well she ended up having to replace them. Frankly, how she found the time to play the Dungeons & Dragons kind of games with her friends (those things tooks hours upon hours upon endless hours…she made me sit through a couple of them) without our mother and father catching on is beyond me.
I remember during my childhood that a lot of parents were worried about their kids playing Dungeons & Dragons and turning into Satan-worshipping baby sacrificing sexually loose drug using miscreants. As it was, my older sis never touched drugs at all and didn’t touch booze until college. I on the other hand, played sports and read biographies and came home high more often than not for a while there. And now I keep seeing emails circulating about how kids who read Harry Potter books are putting their souls in peril and how parents shouldn’t let them anywehre near the stuff.
My son’s a Harry Potter fan and thank God for it. I never went for fiction much but I think reading is so important and I cringe when I visit someone’s house and don’t see any books on the bookshelves. To me, books are more important than almost anything else in the world aside from God & Jesus. But within certain limits I’m not going to choose the subject matter for my kids.
It’s up to us parental units to raise our kids right and to try to keep them away from the most nasty stuff. I certainly don’t want my kids doing drugs and I don’t want my boy hoarding copies of Hustler and Juggs or reading some tawrdy X-rated novel about Victorian bodice-ripping orgy lust…at least not until he’s actually got a firm handle on how women are supposed to be treated first so that he doesn’t get some skewed idea of them as mindless playthings. But my boy is not going to be trying to become a wizard becasue he reads Harry Potter. I know that pagan faiths are having a little resurgence these days and there are wiccans and stuff who go off somewhere and cast their spells and whatnot. But my boy, and so many other boys and girls who read fantasy, are pretty clear on something.
That it’s fantasy.
Not real. It’s an escape. The average kid being raised in a good Christian home with loving and supportive parents who show him why its important to embrace Jesus is no more likely to go to the “other side” than is any other kid. Probably waaaaaay less so. If we’re really worried that reading some fantasy books is going to taint our kids’ souls then that probably means we aren’t doing a very good job of lovingly teaching them about God and the Bible.
Dang, let’s be happy they are reading, first and foremost. If you want to counteract the Harry Potter factor a litte, get them the Left Behind series or make it a requirement that they have to read some young Christian educational/spiritual book in between every fantasy one.
Instead of stifling their brain development and imagination by taking books away, let just focus on making sure they haven’t brought home a “Spellcasting for Dummies” book or a Satanic bible or something.