Why You Should Take Your Kids to See Selma
I’ve been hearing people raving about Selma, so I decided to check out the trailer. Right away, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my eyes started to water. I immediately resonated with this quote:
“What happens when a man stands up and says “enough is enough?” We build the path as we came … rock by rock.”
At Help One Now, we always say in our internal conversations:
“Everyday, we struggle for progress and move the needle forward, inch by inch.”
Changing the world is hard work. But, it is necessary work. After I watched the trailer, I showed it to my 14 and 12 year old daughters and asked if they wanted to see it. They said a resounding “Yes.”
So, on a rainy Monday night, we pushed aside homework and made our way to the theatre.
Why was it so important to take my kids to Selma?
1) Brave Christianity
Christianity simply cannot be safe or clean to be effective or meaningful. I want my kids to understand that following Jesus means they deny themselves the assurance of living a risk-free, comfortable life.
I want them to count the cost and realize the following Jesus is beautiful, hard, and real. I don’t want them the be “cultural Christians” who see Jesus as one who comes to “bless them.” I want them to see Jesus as one who comes to partner with them and make the world a more “Jesus-like” world.
When I was a pastor, I told my church that I would rather them fail living on the frontlines of culture, than succeed by playing it safe and living in the Christian bubble.
Living a holy life in the Christian bubble is not actually holy. The bubble is a breeding ground for judgmental Christians who seem “against” everything, or it is a hiding place for Christians to just do life together and ignore real world issues.
We are sent into the world to make a difference!
2) A Clear Picture of Evil
The movie begins with a clip of four kids walking down a church stairway. I knew my history, so I knew what was going to happen; it did–violent and brutal.
My kids froze. Jaws dropped, eyed widened, tears flowed.
Why do we fight evil? Because evil is real and we need to own that “realness.” It may hurt, and that is okay. I asked my kids how they felt about the movie. Their response? Angry.
Yet, they saw Martin Luther King, Jr and his people fight, even though they suffered. I knew that would have an impact on their souls. They need to see courage lived out; it has to be tangible.
I want my kids to fight for their neighbor. I want them to fight for those who are suffering. I know they need to do this because they choose to live this kind of life, not because their dad does this.
They have to own the mission that God has called them to live out.
3) White Privilege Is Real
I know so many of my friends get ANGRY when I talk about this subject. It kind of baffles me. It’s because of white privilege that slavery existed in the first place. It’s because of white privilege that civil rights movement had to take place. I see white privilege all over Haiti and Africa as well.
Some of the meanest people I have ever met are white missionaries who treat their staff like servants and slaves, not people who are created in the image of God.
I absolutely believe we have made progress, but we still have a long way to go. I want them to be able to recognize when white privilege is rearing its ugly head in their own lives and the lives of people around them.
4) Leadership Is Essential For Progress
I have only prayed a few prayers for my daughters, but they have been the same key prayers since they were little babies.
I pray daily for their safety, their future husbands, and that they would be a voice for God in their generation.
I want them to see leadership in action, to see everyday heroes who choose a more difficult pathway so they can love their neighbor and even their enemies.
I also have a desire to connect the passions of my daughters to mission. One of my daughters loves music. So, I tell her that music can create change and make a differnece and show her examples.
My other daughter loves to paint; she also wants to be an engineer or scientist.(left & right brian)
So, I tell her that scientists and painters are world- changers and show her examples. Doing good can be simple and natural, but it always has to be intentional.
5) They Can Change the World.
As they get older, they see the harsh world and how evil runs rampant and causes chaos. I would rather them see it now, so I can help them make sense of it. If they do not see it until they are older, they could be shocked and lose hope.
As they become more aware, they can respond in a few ways:
1) Ignore it.
2) Become hardened by it.
3) Fight against it.
I want them to see tangible leaders who fought hard to create a better future. I remind them that they can live shallow lives or they can live different, more meaningful lives.
They can serve people, love people, empower people with dignity and tools, and do it with humility. Selma was a tool, a story, that I hope will shape their thinking as they grow older and become more responsible and aware.