Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Important things kids should learn from the James Gunn situation

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Important things kids should learn from the James Gunn situation

If your kids are anything like mine, they are huge fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Guardians of the Galaxy films are some of our all-time favorites, and I knew that the kids would be shocked to hear that writer and director, James Gunn, had been fired earlier this week.

Photo by Gage Skidmore https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Gunn_(28557194032).jpg


Whether you agree or disagree with Disney's decision to terminate Gunn, this situation presents a unique opportunity to discuss some tough topics with your kids, which is exactly what we spent time doing at my house last night. Here are some of the most important things that your child should learn from the James Gunn situation.

Some things are taboo for a reason


When you are young, it can feel liberating to engage in behavior that is shocking or disturbing to others. And yes, you may get laughs for the outrageous things you say or do, no matter how off color. But making jokes that disrespect others, especially jokes about things like abuse, is no laughing matter.

If the topic isn't one you'd laugh about around your grandmother, it's probably a very bad idea to post about it online. People may not believe you later when you say you were just joking.

The internet never forgets


When you do post something online, for better or worse, it's out there, potentially forever. The disgusting tweets that cost Gunn his job were posted many years ago, but even a decade later and public apologies, they came back. It doesn't matter whether you said something last week, last year, or thirty years in the past, if you said it publicly, it can hurt you.

I reminded my kids that every photo they share, every line the tweet, and even every meme they forward could have consequences when they are older, so take their time and think things out before engaging online.

Free speech doesn't mean speech without consequences


We enjoy the freedom of speech in America, which means that to a large extent, we are legally allowed to say whatever we want. But that does not mean, in any way, that the things we say will not come with consequences.

Our kids may not grow up to be famous, but there are plenty of ordinary people who have faced consequences similar to those of Roseanne Barr and James Gunn. They've lost their livelihood because the things they've said have caught up with them.

Everything you say in public potentially reflects not only on you, but also on your employer, your university, your church, your family, etc. Employers, especially, are likely to take action to protect their reputation if their connection with you could make them look bad in the public eye.

Redemption is possible


When the boom falls on a celebrity, it may look like there is no such thing as redemption. An angry public can seem like a giant lynch mob, set to destroy an offender. Society does sometimes accept remorse and will offer reconciliation for the repentant, though it can take time.

What is always true, however, is that God offers redemption. Whether you've said something stupid and offensive online, or commited a truly awful crime, there is hope. I personally put faith in the idea that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 

That verse does not say while we were perfect, or while we were good, but while we were sinners, and that's what we all are. So let's pray for each other, that each of us finds redemption and a way to put down the stones we so quickly hold aloft when another stumbles.