What Disney's Frozen taught me about Catechism1
As someone who believes that God has given Christian parents the primary responsiblity for raising their children "in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4), I have always been a strong advocate of catechism. But something happened last week that has given me an even greater sense of urgency in catechizing my children: My house was "frozenified."
Let me explain.
On my daughters third birthday our house was inundated with Disney's Frozen paraphenelia (I understand this is a common phenomena across America in homes with little girls). My daughter now sleeps in Frozen themed PJ's. She now spends her days in a Princess Anna dress while playing with a Princess Elsa doll and Hans and Olaf actions figures. Most disturbingly (from my perspective, anyway), she now sings the Frozen theme song "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs throughout the day.
What has this got to do with Catechism? Everything.
While listening to my daughter sing "Let it Go, Let it Go" at the top of her lungs for umpteenth time (and it is truly amazing how quickly she has learned the words and now repeats them), I realized just how critical it is that we parents intentionally teach our children the Word of God and a Christian worldview from the very earliest age. For if we do not, someone else (Walt Disney, in this case) will be happy to step in and do it for us - and I don't think we will like the outcome.
Listening to my daughter repeat back words she had just learned from the Frozen soundtrack - very much a process of catechism - reminded me with fresh power that there is simply no neutrality when it comes to worldview. Everything our children learn and experience flows out of some worldview that seeks to give meaning, purpose, and value to life. As they grow up, they are continually integrating what they see and experience in the world around them into a framework which helps them understand and give meaning to those experiences. The question is not, therefore, will my children have a worldview, but where are they going to get it?
Frozen has reminded me that if we do not intentionally give our children a biblical worldview from which to intepret life, then some other worldview will quickly take it's place - and there are a thousand different voices in the culture that are begging for their attention. If I don't teach my daughter that she is created by God, for his glory, then she may grow up with the message of "Let it Go" shaping her life. Do we see the irony if we we don't want to "force" our children to go to church, have family devotions, memorize Bible passages or other truths about God, but we are happy to let them memorize whole songs from Disney movies, or watch hours of TV advertising and television shows every week? Our children will be "catechized," that is inevitable. The only question is, "by whom?"