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Monday, April 10, 2017

13 Reasons Why

I had seen a few posts on Facebook about the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”  and it was in the back of my head that I should tell my kids about it when my daughter, Haley,16, mentioned it to me.  So this weekend my son Brennan (15), Haley, and I all sat down to watch it. 

I love my kids and most of the television I watch is with them in my presence.  We have similar tastes and often go to the movies together.  I work, don’t get home until 5:30pm most nights, and am active with my church and my recovery ministry a couple nights a week. So the time I have at home is spent with them in our living room, watching T.V., or just hanging out.  I try to be there for my kids as someone to confide in. I often inquire about their lives but I also try to give them their space.  I am probably too transparent with my past because, since going into recovery two years ago, I am trying to educate them about life by sharing stories of my past and the pitfalls and traps that this world has to offer.  I often engage them in discussions about the different aspects of life and try to show them the contrasts in what the world tells them will make them happy and what really matters.  I advise them that the greatest wisdom is to follow Jesus and His advice by doing what is righteous.  It’s not an easy sell but since finding the peace that comes from being in relationship with Him and because I love them and want what is best for them, it’s hard not to proclaim it.  

I often proclaim it on Facebook too.  If this annoys you, good.  If it annoys you, it means you may need to make peace with God, because if you had peace with God, it wouldn’t annoy you.  Or if it did annoy you and you had peace with God, you would forgive me.    I only proclaim the Christian faith because I know, from experience, that it is true and I know if you embrace it you will find hope, peace, and a new life.  Don’t trust me?  Well, Jesus said:

John 5:24 (NLT)
24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  Sorry, not sorry. Forgive me. 

Anyway, my kids and I watched “13 Reasons Why”, this weekend.   The show revolves around the events of a teenage suicide and her reasons for ending her life.  The show is told in flashbacks and it is thoroughly engaging and keeps you in suspense. 

My children and I watch the CW show, "Riverdale", which is a teenage suspense drama using the Archie comics as a character basis, and "13 Reasons Why" had a similar feel to that show (in it being a high school drama with elements of suspense and mystery), at first. 

“13 Reasons Why’ is a show all about the high school experience and its sometime darker aspects.  High school is the time where you make the transition from children to adults and that transition is filled with angst and confusion as everyone is coming to grips with who they are, where they’re going, and how life works.  So, 13 Reasons covers the familiar ground of high school cliques, alcohol and drug use, dating relationships, and sex.   

      
What sets “13 Reasons Why” apart from others shows is the way it progressively unfolds and reveals the how the events of one girl’s life lead to her ending it. The show is masterful in the way it slowly reveals the cast of characters and the part they each played in this girl ending her life.  The questions of truth, consequences, and accountability all come to the forefront as the viewer learns about each character’s actions and tries to determine just “how responsible” each person was in the perfect storm that ended a young girl’s life. So as the story unfolds we judge each character, including the victim, to try to make sense of it all.  Through the process the viewer will take sides, assigning blame and offering absolution. You may be surprised that your attitudes toward some characters are colored by your own history. You may be even more surprised that your attitudes toward some characters have the potential to make us another “reason”.   

 I am purposely giving no details of the specifics of the show but I would urge every school administrator, teacher, and parent to watch it with their teenage kids.  There are graphic situations with sex, violence, and drugs, so beware.    

All of these “reasons” that add up to tragedy, could be avoided through friendship.  As Christians, we are told to love our enemies. Sometimes the evil and dysfunction that repels us the most is fueled by ignorance, hurt, and loneliness.  If someone is “messed up”, “weird” or “stupid” there is probably a reason.  The challenge for us is to offer love and friendship to those who may seem the most unworthy of it, in hopes that we can give them hope and a way to change, a reason to live.     




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