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How to Talk to Your Kids About the Movies They Watch

Your kids pop on a movie and you finally have two hours of peace and quiet. However, don’t miss out on these meaningful character-building conversations you could have with your children by doing a quick, easy follow-up movies devotion from Ted Baehr’s new book Reel to Real.

This generation doesn’t read; they watch movies. Does that scare you? It shouldn’t. Yes, there are some pretty horrific films out there that hit the box office that should never been seen by a child (or adult for that matter). But luckily, there are still quite a few good flicks to see with your kids.

Ted Baehr grew up in the entertainment industry as a “broadway brat.” He now runs and is the author of the newly released book Reel to Real: 45 Movie Devotions for Families. When he started his organization, only 1% of movies had positive Christian content. Now up to 62% of movies have a Christian component, and of the top ten movies last year, 80% of them contained positive Christian attributes. That’s great news!

We all expect Les Misérables, God’s Not Dead 2, and Amazing Grace to carry Christian undertones, but would you know to look for them in Father of the Bride, Back to the Future II, or Finding Dory? I know I wouldn’t. But there are resources available that not only point us to the “good” movies and steer us away from the “bad,” but also give us guidance as to how to talk with our children about what they are watching.

Great questions to ask your kids after they watch a movie

Instead of just having our children watch a movie, turn it off and head to the next fun thing to do, we can have a great conversation with our kids about what they just witnessed in those two hours. A question parents often have is, how do we know which movies to encourage/allow our children to watch, and what do we say after the movie is over? Great question. Here is an easy 3 step answer.

Step 1: Download the FREE Parent Media Guide from Counter Culture Mom. Simply text the words MEDIAGUIDE (no spaces) to the number 44222. You will receive hundreds of positive entertainment options in this guide.

Step 2: Bookmark right now. The site has current top ten movies, reviews, articles, and recommendations for movies with a worthwhile purpose. You’ll want this site at your fingertips on a weekly basis.

Step 3: Invest in a copy of Ted Baehr’s new book; it can be purchased here. This devotional is divided into 45 short, in-depth chapters with 89 movie suggestions throughout.Each section discusses a specific topic such as “Prayer and Fasting,” “The Power of Grace,” “The Lord’s Provision,” “The Rewards of Repentance,” or “What’s God’s Purpose for Your Life?” After a brief (usually just two page) discussion of the topic where specific scripture is included, several movies are suggested that contain that chapter’s theme. Simple talking points follow before ending with a brief prayer. This book is a fabulous resource for parents who want to keep the door of communication open with their kids without long lectures (that kids unfortunately tune out anyway).

Several ways to use Reel-to-Real

  • You can read any given chapter ahead of time and prepare yourself for discussion topics that you casually bring up after viewing the movie.
  • You can choose to go through the book from start to finish as family devotions that incorporate movie watching together.
  • Find a movie in the movie index that the whole family would like to watch, and then read the corresponding devotion together.
  • Start with an interesting or applicable topic that someone in the family chooses, read devotion that corresponds to that topic and watch movie.

This is not a book that needs to be read in chronological order from cover to cover. It is a resource. It is a ministry. It is a tool in your tool belt for guiding your kids to see quality character traits in the movies they are allowed to watch with or without you.

Tina Marie had the chance to interview Ted at the National Religious Broadcasters conference in Nashville, TN regarding this nifty new resource.

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As if you need any more convincing…

Here are a few reviews from Ted Baehr’s book

“Reel to Real presents forty-five days of daily inspiration providing valuable spiritual and emotional insights to be found in movies. I am grateful that these devotions help to bridge the gap between the mass media of entertainment and those who have a desire to know God better.” – Roma Downey, actress and producer

“Dr. Ted Baehr has done a wonderful job weaving powerful, beloved movies as illustrations to give insights into the principles of God’s Word, to help our children grow in godly wisdom, discernment, and grace. What fun – families sharing great movies that children love to foster biblical values! Reel to Real is two thumbs up!” – Kevin Sorbo, actor, director, producer

“Ted Baehr is one of America’s heroes! For decades he has stood for the best in the media world and positively influenced innumerable production houses, directors, producers, and talent. In his new book, he opens his heart and shares with you some of the secrets of Hollywood’s best movies in a very enriching manner. Don’t miss Reel to Real.” – Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez

After reading and working through this book, you will have quite the experience and knowledge in knowing how to have great discussions with your kids about life-changing, character building topics. It can even be used to point out why a particular movie was NOT the best choice for him or her to see. And what a wonderful guide to share with your kids about how to make wise decisions about what they allow into their hearts and minds.

Don’t be discouraged with all the films out there filled with filth. There are plenty of productions worthy to be watched. Equip yourself with this little gem of a book and lead your kids on how to make wise choices on what media to ingest. Be encouraged. Many positive options exist!


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Tanya Clifton was the contributing writer for this article. She is a homeschool mom to two teenage girls and the wife of twenty-two years to her best friend. She was born and raised in San Diego and is currently relocating to Wyoming where she plans to pursue her writing career and take up photography.

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