Moms: Don't Make a "Blind Buy"

“Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are becoming household terms in the American culture. It seems like every year we are faced with new deals, better sales, and new gadgets that we just have to buy. Countless articles and blogs have been written on the commercialization of Christmas and the increasingly secularization of Jesus’ birth. But, today I want to address a different problem that I see with American consumerism…blind consumerism.

I define blind consumerism as buying products (movies, toys, video games, etc) without first researching and considering their content.

It is easy to get so caught up in pop culture that you forget to research the things you allow to influence you and your family. I, along with most women, am guilty of blind consumerism. A year ago I was completely clueless to many of the movies, television shows, and toys that now frequent my daily conversations. I knew about “Elmo’s World,” “Yo Gabba-Gabba,” and “Dora the Explorer,” but I was not interested in them. Up until about three months ago my daughter, Makaylan, was oblivious to commercialized objects. We do not have television, so the only access she had to characters popular with toddlers was what we allowed her to see.  For example, we had several books with Sesame Street and Fisher Prices’ Little People characters on them, but she did not show favoritism for one or the other. When we bought her an Elmo sippy cup, mainly to help her begin drinking out of a “big girl” cup, the obsession with Elmo was born. I grew up watching Sesame Street, so I did not stop to research or think about what I was allowing our child to idolize. Earlier this month the scandal involving the voice and personality of Elmo broke. Kevin Clash is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a young man, who at the time was a teenager.[1] Though there is much left in determining whether or not this accusation is true, it did make me stop and take a closer look at the character that had become my daughter’s favorite. All of a sudden I was faced with a problem: Do I allow my child to continue her obsession with Elmo, or do I stop it?

Scripture says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) This has been a scripture passage that my husband and I try to live out in our daily lives. So much on television and the internet will distract and detour our minds from thinking upon things that bring honor and glory to God. As we raise our two daughters, we want them to learn to test everything against Scripture to see if it is profitable to them also. Yet, I had failed to do that in introducing my daughter to Elmo. If I had done a little research, I would have discovered that there are liberal undertones to Sesame Street (mainly derived from the producers and humans behind the puppets) that I do not want my child to mimic and ideas that I do not want her to adopt.

In all honesty, it is easier to turn a blind eye to pop culture because you do not want your child (or you for that matter) to be the only one not watching a particular movie, listening to a popular song, or playing with a specific toy. I used to really enjoy Taylor Swift until I heard two six-seven year olds singing “White Horse.” Some of the lyrics are:

I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale

I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet

Lead her up the stairwell

This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town

I was a dreamer before you went and let me down

Now it’s too late for you and your white horse to come around

It broke my heart to hear these two little girls sing a song in which they did not understand the implications or meaning of the lyrics. Taylor Swift is successful, and her songs are very catchy and seemingly harmless. But, if you actually read her lyrics and not just listen to her music, they are filled with flighty, immature, teenage notions of love that do not describe the real love that is defined in 1 Corinthians 13. I want to be careful that the things my children listen to and watch mimics the biblical worldview my husband and I are trying to instill in them. We, as mothers, must be careful to not turn a blind eye (and ear) to what the pop culture is trying to sell to us and our children. We must avoid making a “blind buy.”

So, I want to ask you, do you research the music, video games, television shows, or movies that you allow your child to listen to and watch? Do you allow the most popular thing into your home because you want your child to have the latest and greatest video game or toy? Do you teach your children how to judge what they watch and listen to by the standards of God’s Word? My prayer is that this Christmas we would be careful to avoid blind consumerism, and instead, seek to discover the message that is behind the things we buy for our children.