If I hear one more talking head (who probably hasn’t read the book series or seen the movie) rail against letting “our children” see a movie where “children kill children,” I think I’ll scream or go blind.
Here’s my take:
1. Hunger Games encourages young people to take personal responsibility for their own destinies, even against unfair odds, even if a parent is dead or unstable, even if the government is despotic and corrupt.
2. One message I get from author Suzanne Collins’ story is: this: “God bless the child that’s got his own.” Be reluctant to allow folks, even your parents or the government, to give you free stuff for very long. The price can be incredibly high. Personal freedom’s very slippery and easy to lose.
3. Look out for your family and do what you can, even when it’s hard. Get the earplugs out of your ears and look around to see what you can do. You are stronger and more capable than you know. Don’t let the culture lull you. Toughen up. Along the way, something amazing will happen. You’ll start feeling empowered and fulfilled, maybe even happy.
4. After the movie, I stood in line behind a horde of 15-20 year olds to wash my hands at the sink in the restroom. There was an electric hum in the room. They were not giggling about how good-looking the actors playing Peeta Mellark or Gale Hawthorne were. They were mostly looking at one another, preternaturally alert, intense. I heard a few questions and some commentary about the film. I felt like I was observing an incredible moment of metamorphosis from fumbling children to the epiphany of one’s own ability to get something done in the world.
Look. I’m not positing that The Hunger Games is a great movie; only that I believe it gives young people a parable of how to get into the deep water of life and swim rather than mooning around on the shore. So, please. Let’s quit protecting kids from exposure to something that can add strength and renew the time-honored concept of the hero’s journey.