When I was growing up, we had no TV. That’s a hip thing these days, but for my family it was more about living in the backwoods of a small town than it was about making a political statement.
I have a TV in my house, with cable access, plus Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. I know. I know. But hear me out.
We had no TV but we did have a television set (two of them technically), and we were allowed to watch certain movies — primarily musicals and Disney films. Often the two intersected, as with Robin Hood, the 1973 version that cast anthropomorphized animals as the eponymous outlaw and his sidekick, Little John.
My brother and I watched that movie. And watched that movie. And watched it again. And again. And again.
You could say we allowed our brains to be numbed by it, and considering I can still sing the songs from a now 40-year-old movie that (until last week) I hadn’t seen in several decades, you might be right.
But proving that you learn something every day, I sat down to re-watch Robin Hood, now on Blu-Ray (set to be released on August 6), with my daughter last week and realized something.
It was while watching Robin Hood that I first learned what “alms for the poor” were and what it meant to put a “pox” on someone (courtesy of the song Phony King of England).
It was a kid’s film, and oh my deary doo, a MOVIE, but it taught me a fair amount of words, words that were put in context, words I use to this day as a writer.
Sometimes I get defensive about allowing my daughter to watch television when I watched none and to be so plugged into other media when even that was limited for me.
But it’s viewings of old favorites like this one that remind me there ARE reasons to have our kids consume media, reminds me that all media is not the same.
Robin Hood has made it to a special 40 year release on Blu-Ray from Disney because it was crafted with intelligence, with the intention that parents could watch it with their kids, walk away, and allow it to keep on playing.
This is the difference between simply allowing our kids to consume media and allowing them to consume smart media. It’s the difference between saying “my kids don’t watch TV” because it’s hip and saying “my kid only watches media I approve for viewing.”
And when you’re in doubt of what is worth approving, perhaps a return to your childhood favorites is in order?
Might I suggest … Robin Hood?
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Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Robin Hood. I was not otherwise compensated, and the opinions expressed here are my own.