By Kelly Carr
Today we begin a three-part series on one of my favorite topics—media. I’ve always enjoyed things I can watch and listen to and read. I enjoy being dazzled and also learning through various senses with these media forms. We are going to consider what value visual media, music, and books have in our lives—plus how we can use those to develop ourselves and connect with others.
We begin with visual media. Though anything can be taken to the extreme, I find visual media to be a lovely, relaxing hobby. It’s an escape, but I also learn so much.
One visual medium my family enjoys is TV shows. When we view The Amazing Race, we get glimpses of unbelievable sights and peer into cultures around the world. Shark Tank is a nice economics lesson. Brain Games teaches us fascinating science lessons about the way God made our minds. Even the fairy tale show Once Upon a Time, where the heroes aren’t always heroic and the villains get second chances, has opened up conversations with my daughter about free will, good versus evil, and sin and salvation.
Movies offer great storytelling. When I first saw Lars and the Real Girl as well as Be Kind Rewind, I was struck by their depictions of communities coming together, neighbors who are there for one another. I also become enthralled with good cinematography or surprising plot twists. I get pulled into the action of superhero flicks. I love classic films starring Audrey Hepburn or Fred Astaire. At other times, movies tug on my heartstrings. I like British period pieces for amusement, but Belle also exposed me to deeper issues, such as discrimination in 1700s England.
There is something special about seeing performances in person. My mom and I like to attend musicals together. I am blessed to live in the city, close to an abundance of arts organizations. I have spent the past couple of years intentionally exposing my family to the local ballet, children’s theater, Shakespeare troupe, and more.
Also near me are several art museums, and they present another wonderful visual medium. I have no artistic skill myself, but I marvel at the talent of others. Seeing messages communicated in various art forms wows me as I understand creativity and beauty on new levels.
Sometimes my favorite part of viewing something is discussing my thoughts with friends and family who watched the same thing. I want to know their favorite parts and have camaraderie that we were immersed in an experience together. Visual media connects me to others, as we share our thoughts on what we’ve seen.
I have people over to my house to watch a show or a movie. In our small group we watch a Bible study video together. My family gathers to cheer on our favorite basketball, baseball, or soccer team onscreen.
Visual media is an opportunity to look from a different perspective, and it opens doors to conversations we might not have otherwise.