In his review of the Disney film "Tangled," WorldNetDaily news editor Drew Zahn states that "there is much to praise" in the film. But... there is much not to like "if you but stop and analyze the resounding message this movie plants in children's minds." Indeed, it peddles a "very worldly and yet completely wicked and untrue philosophy on adolescence."
And what is that "wicked and untrue philosophy"? The idea of adolescent rebellion:
And, of course, Ryder and Rapunzel are proved justified in the girl's rebellion, the mother is shown wicked and the youngsters' little "road trip" proves to be just what the doctor ordered. And it's all OK for the young minds in the audience to be seeped in this spirit of defiance and parent-degradation, because the mother is really the bad guy.
Happily ever after. Walk out of the theater smiling. And then, somehow, be surprised when your children think you're an overprotective know-nothing, assume they're justified in rebellion and do a little bar-hopping, frat-party "road trip" of their own.
Wait. What happened to the happy ending?
Is "Tangled" just describing adolescent life as it is? Or is it part of a wider culture that is prescribing life as it wants to be to loose teens from their parents in order to teach its own values?
I'm the father of four teenagers, and like many parents, I've found that adolescents do begin at about that age to think critically about authority. They question the old rules, they long for and test their independence. Stretching the wings is a necessary part of growing up.
But nowhere does God prescribe rebellion and defiance as a proper path to adulthood. It is not "good" and it is not "healthy." No, contrary to popular belief and Disney brainwashing, children do not have to suddenly become the spawn of Satan (the first rebel, after all) when they turn 13.
One of the greatest rewards I've found in watching the homeschooling community is that its children are often raised by parents who question the entire worldly paradigm of what kids are like and supposed to be, including what they can be like as teenagers. And while every community has its share of rebellious and difficult teens, I have marveled at watching how some young men and women from families that reject the message of "Tangled" grow up in partnership with their parents to be models of respect and independence tempered by Godly submission. They are the best example I have seen to prove rebellion is simply not a mandate.
Got that? Teenagers should never rebel against their parents -- shouldn't even think different, apparently. Submission, not independence, is the order of the day.
That was such silly opinion that even Zahn conceded he might be wrong.
In a follow-up column, Zahn begins by condescendingly writing that "Occasionally, one of my critics makes a point so well, so thoughtfully, I must concede the merit of their argument." He then reprints a letter from a mother whose daughter disagreed with the idea that the movie left "the impression that it was OK to rebel against her parents." The parent then provided a slightly less controlling theory -- after all, she does think that "we should expect obedience [from children] by instilling truth with loving discipline so they will not look for something else" -- that Zahn could apparently live with:
In short, we are all children of the King, and until we see the Light, we remain imprisoned under the control of a lying, deceptive, manipulative "mother"; and no matter how much we question Who the Light is, we will not know Him until we set out to seek and discover Him for ourselves. We will never be satisfied until we are safely in the arms of the One to Whom we really belong. We should not listen to anyone who keeps us from Jesus, even if it is our own parents, but we need to do it in a way that is honorable. Even if we have our children dedicated and raise our kids to know Jesus, they will not be reconciled to the King until they have their own moment of revelation and embrace the Truth themselves.
At least this mother, unlike Zahn, seems to acknowledge the existence of free will.