Sunday, October 05, 2008

Is nature too mature for a child?

Tonight Mickey and I sat on the sofa and channel surfed to the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth. I'd heard about this acclaimed series before...some comedian said it had been nominated for an Oscar, but wondered how hard it was to film grass growing.

Thankfully, however, tonight's episode was all about ocean life. The film, even on our not-flat-screen, not-plasma, really-wishing-it-would-die television, was absolutely mesmerizing, to me and to Mickey. Even Alex paused for a nanosecond to watch schools of colorful fish and swimming bunches of snakes (yes, SWIMMING). got interesting. The scene turned to sea lions hoisting themselves up on a beach to acquire a dinner of fresh penguin.

The sealion's teeth went around the penguin's neck and then the thrashing began. I was hoping it would be over in a flash and go back to the little baby whale and its mamma, but the carnage continued for several seconds. I finally turned the channel amid protests from Mickey. He wanted to see the rest of the show in spite of his DVD of Happy Feet sitting on the shelf next to the TV.

So when are little kids mature enough to see examples of the circle of life? At what age is it okay to let them see lions attack a baby water buffalo? 5? 7? 19? Did your kids ever see something similar on TV and get upset over it?

Sigh...yet another parenting issue to ponder, for sure. That, and how to answer him when he asks if the chickens he saw in the petting zoo at the fair are the same kind as the chicken that ends up in nuggets.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. It's been rough with us on the dawning of what it is we're eating...she still doesn't know what a hamburger actually is made from. When we drive by the field of cows each morning and she says "Hi Cows," how can I tell her!? Yikes. It's enough to turn me into a vegetarian to avoid explaining it all!

Chilihead2 said...

I follow my kids' lead on this. He was clearly enthralled with the show and didn't want you to change the channel--does that mean he thought it was OK? Has he seen Lion King and heard about the circle of life? That made it a bit easier for my kids to understand. They've never been squeamish about animals killing other animals. I find that I, as I get older, am the one who seems to have a problem with it. Perhaps it's my own circle of life issues.

Andrea said...

The same thing happened to us while watching the Discovery Channel, except we were watching Lions. Everything was great for the first 20 minutes and then a deer ran by and..... well you know what happened. It didn't seem to bother Connor but it bothered me. Maybe I should have let him watch but I just think it's too young. But then again my Grandma was killing her own Chicken's by the age of 6. Oh what to do?

Anonymous said...

Well, out here in the country when it's time to take a pig to the butcher, sometimes young inquiring minds want to know just what is going on. So here is the explanation: We are trading our pig to this man for some ham and bacon.