In the book, “Mr. Rogers Talks with Parents,” the famed TV host wrote that “much of what is on TV is at best, a waste of time and at worst, downright destructive.” His book encouraged parents to closely monitor the programs their children watch and to discuss sensitive or difficult topics that their children encounter through television. This advice can be updated for today’s culture by changing TV to videos that are on YouTube, streaming services or apps. It probably goes without saying that most of the videos are at best, a waste of time and at worst, destructive.
Also, the content of these videos can make children feel anxious, and if these feelings aren’t addressed, they can thwart a child’s coping skills for healthy growth and development. Mr. Rogers was a child development expert and his program addressed difficult topics in an age- appropriate way that helped children sort out their feelings.
He said that, “whatever is mentionable is much more manageable. For children to be able to see us dealing with such things as the death of a pet, or the trauma of living through a divorce—these are all things that are allowed to be talked about and allowed to be felt.”
To make space for grace in our families, make space for children to talk about their feelings, especially topics that are difficult. Giving your children time to sort through their feelings, especially in the context of prayer and sacramental moments, opens us to God’s grace in a powerful way.
-Teresa Peterson, Making Space for Grace