We find that movies are an amazing way to teach about values and character formation in a subtle manner. As we are watching and then reflecting later on the movie, we often chat about issues or character stuff that was raised in a movie. When we were helping our son to try to be more discerning with certain friendships, movies (and books) were great to draw out various good and bad character traits. Our children are at an age (14 and 11) where they love watching movies with us as a family.
We have recently been watching a number of movies set in Africa as we are learning about Africa at the moment in school. We home educate so we try to utilise a number of different methods and learning styles in our education, thus a win-win for everyone as the kids love watching the movies.
There are some very powerful movies set in Africa that are mainly suited to older children/teenagers. ‘Queen of Katwe’ is excellent, ‘Power of One’, ‘Mandela – long walk to Freedom’ have all been very insightful for our family. There are a number of movies and cartoons about Africa suited to younger children as well eg Lion King, Madagascar.
The latest movie was ‘The Good Lie’. It is rated M mainly for the violence at the beginning where just about everyone in a South Sudanese village gets shot. There are a number of graphic scenes, mainly in the first third where people are killed and dying and in the refugee camp. Thus, this movie is not suitable for younger children.
Basically the movie is about four Sudanese children who make it to a refugee camp and then after a number of years, are able to go to America. It is extremely enlightening to see their adjustment in America and the way that people in the West can easily assume so much and not realise anything about the world and the experience that the refugees have had. How these Sudanese children are prepared to sacrifice themselves for others is amazing. Their honesty and world view (eg stores throwing expired food in a dumpster and not allowing it to go to the homeless) on certain issues is a good talking point that has helped our family look at these issues from various viewpoints.
It is called ‘The Good Lie’ because at one point, the leader of the four young adults who is now their chief, explains that a good lie is one where you give yourself up and am prepared to die and that you lie that there is no-one else with you in order to save someone else’s life. That is considered a good lie in that you have saved someone else’s life.
Please hear me, I am not saying that there is good and bad lies, white lies etc. I am purely expressing the opinion that movies can have the ability to raise amazing points and get messages across to our children. This is a great movie to raise the whole lying issue with your children.
If you have teenagers or work with refugees, I encourage you to watch the movie. Many basic facts about refugees come across and also many assumptions that westerners make about refugees. Have your children had much contact with refugees? Have you discussed with them a bit about what it is like to be a refugee? This movie is great for highlighting some of the issues that refugees face.
We are always on the look out for movies that carry great messages and help with character and values education. If you have watched any great movies that fit this category, please feel free to comment below about the movies. Thanks.