That's the message I got from the movie we watched last night.
But let me back up a bit.
You know Sweetheart is all about the American Girl Dolls. We have learned SO MUCH from history by reading the books about these characters, made to be representative of a typical 8-10 year old girl's life during whatever time period. The books are enjoyable, the dolls are precious, and I am really glad we have read the books. Sweetheart has learned a lot about things past and how life was in other eras.
I've been skipping the "Julie" books because they are set in 1974 and Julie's parents, true to the era, are going through a divorce. There's also some "anything boys can do, girls can do better" themes going on in the books. And of course, Julie is the only doll who comes wearing pants. Call me silly, but I prefer reading to her about little girls who wear dresses, and stitch on their samplers, and help their mother with chores. We can get enough of the other reality in, well...real life.
So what possessed me to order Chrissa Stands Strong from Netflix is beyond me. See, every year the American Girl company has a "Girl of the Year." This doll is only offered for the one year and is a modern doll, representative of today's girls. We have mostly focused on the historical characters, but Sweetheart saw the preview of this movie about 2009's Chrissa doll and wanted to see it.
Oh hindsight. Where were you when I needed you?
I really should have watched this movie first. I did warn her that the girls in the movie, and even the main character, Chrissa (who is the "good guy" in Sweetheart's mind) might not act like God would have them to. Chrissa might not even respond to the bullying in a godly way. We'll just have to see. After we watch it, I told her, we can decide if she acted like God would want us to.
But I really wasn't ready for what we saw. The bullying was BAD ya'll. And I have no doubt that bullying really is this bad and worse in many places. The girls were all 4th graders in the movie, but reminded me much more of middle school students. And it got intense sometimes. Sweetheart burst into tears during one scene and I had to hug her and remind her it was a movie about A DOLL which made her laugh. Then she accidentally blew some snot on my sweater and we all grossed out and pressed play again.
Family movie night. Good times.
Anyway, if you have a kid in public school, it probably is a good movie for you to consider. The ultimate theme I suppose is: kids can't handle problems by themselves all the time and they need to tell an adult and let them help. Which I have to agree is true.
So what's the problem?
The first day that Chrissa attends her new school the bullying begins. She goes straight home, gets on her laptop and Googles "Homeschooling 4th Grade." Which made me laugh out loud. Smart kid!!! At supper one night she tells her family she'd like to be homeschooled and gives them some quick stats on how homeschoolers perform better on tests. The idea is immediately dismissed and her dad even makes a bet with her.
"I bet you can't be on the school swim team if you're homeschooled," he says.
"Bet you can," Chrissa replies, after which they shake on it.
We never see anything come of the bet. Chrissa stays in school and joins the swim team. Hello??? Producers??? Writers??? Could we get some fact checking going on here? You most assuredly CAN homeschool and still participate in team sports!!!
Sigh. It's not even that. Normal kids go to public school and homeschooling is just something we aren't even going to consider. Chrissa stays home one day because she can't face going to school and when some friends come to check on her she tells them she is considering being homeschooled.
Her friend immediately tells her, "Staying home means you lose and they win." Now, to be fair, she was talking about skipping school because of bullying. But the fact that the comment came right after homeschooling was mentioned again just dismissed the idea entirely.
Homeschooling is like....a last resort....or not even a consideration and it's what you do when you want to give up. That's kind of the message that was given. And that's why I was disappointed in the movie. American Girls DO get homeschooled AND learn to deal with bullies. Sweetheart learned a lesson about bullies at the park the other day....with her mom right there to help guide the situation instead of her all alone trying to deal with it herself.
I don't know. I've just heard a lot of stories of parents who have HAD to pull their kids home because of bullying. And I've been told by others that "I can't protect them forever." Which always makes me want to ask them if they buckle their kids up in the car. If so, why? Why not just let them ride and pray God will protect them?
Any thoughts? Have any of you seen the movie?