Over the weekend, after reading about Zach's time at the movies with Rambo, I suddenly flashed back to second grade. Moreover, when Rambo: First Blood Part II was out in theaters. All sorts of merchandising was available, including action figures, a cartoon and even a coloring/activity book. How I remember those particular items is because I had an action figure (complete with helicopter), watched the cartoon on TV and received the coloring book as a prize in my second grade class.
Why I bring this up is mainly disbelief. An activity book for kids based on an R-rated movie filled with violence? Do they still do stuff like this? Really? But at the same time, I'm not trying to be a prude about it. Moreover, this reminds me of how kids have their own minds. And merely having something like this does not mean the kid will grow up to be some deviant of society.
I definitely wouldn't call my parents' parenting style strict, but as fair, tactful and well-intentioned with boundaries. Of course, I developed a loner mentality early on and was not seduced by trouble from fellow kids my age. More than anything, I didn't want to let my parents down or make them angry. I was essentially a goody-two-shoes and to an extent, still am (along with hard-headed stubbornness). So exposure to those Rambo products, along with Robocop and Chuck Norris, did not warp my morals.
Whenever I hear overly-concerned parents/adults get all up in arms about how children might respond to something, I tend to get up in arms. Seems like all children are impressionable lemmings with no moral values. They have no intuition and cannot think for themselves. It's the parents' job to monitor everything they see and do and if there's anything that goes wrong, it's all the parents' fault. I simply can't stand behind or believe this.
I don't think there's one magic formula that works for all kids, but it helps when the parents actually care about the well-being of their child or children. But what do I know, being almost thirty with no kids of my own? Well, I still remember what it was like to be a kid -- and I remember being annoyed when I was talked down to by adults.
Whenever I'm around kids aged from toddlers to teenagers, I'm aware their brains/thoughts are not that of an adult's just yet. But that doesn't mean kids should be treated like they're stupid and don't have a natural sense of wrong and right.
My point in all this armchair philosophizing is, kids can be smarter than you and not as smart as you. Exposure to mature, adult themes in movies and books do not automatically lead to a downhill, slippery slope where all good morals are thrown out the window. And yes, Rambo kicks a lot of ass.