You become what you think about.
Hollywood swirls in intellectual dishonesty. On the one hand, they court advertisers to pay millions of dollars to convince people to change their behavior and buying habits, while at the same time they claim that the immorality and violence they portray in a constant stream will have absolutely no affect on viewers.
So, which is it? Are they lying to their clients or the viewing public? Does what we see and hear change us or not?
The summer before my sophomore year in high school — long before I realized reading was a good thing — in a school-has-been-out-so-long–I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with-myself haze, I picked up an old book from the shelf in my dad's office. It was called The Catcher in the Rye. Before I knew it, I was engrossed and read it in just a few of days. (Something I hadn't done since my fifth grade fascination with the 512-page tome Little Women.)
Truth be told, it wasn't so much the story that intrigued me, but the fact that the dialogue had cursing and other salacious stuff. And, here's the kicker, it was on my parent's bookshelf! If they so much as raised an eyebrow about my book selection, I had a ready retort about hypocrisy.
After reading it to the end — while carefully and prominently displaying the cover whenever my mom or dad was nearby — with not a single peep from either of them, I finally asked my mom if she thought it was wrong to read “that kind of book.”
Her answer: “I suppose I think that until I've read all the good books that don't have that kind of content, I don't have time to read the books that do.”
No lectures. No criticism. Just common sense. If there are valuable books without inappropriate, uncivil content that I haven't read, did I have time to fill my mind with questionable stuff?
What we read, watch, hear, ponder sticks with us. Given the limited time for consumption, choosing wisely what we expose ourselves to is paramount.
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