Terri Minsky was inspired to create the Disney show, Andi Mack, when she learned that Jack Nicholson was an adult when he found out the woman he thought was his sister was, in fact, his mother. The show was recently renewed for its third season and was voted 2017’s Top Rated Show for tween girls. The Disney show has been lauded for embracing diversity and acceptance of everyone. And maybe everything.
The show debuted with a plot that revealed the person Andi Mack thought was her older sister was actually her mother, who had abandoned her at birth. Season two introduced the coming-out story of one of the boys on the show. The plot line was written to show his growing awareness that he was attracted to the same boy Andi Mack had a crush on. The show is intended to reflect the normal struggles of American teens, and it is both funny and entertaining. But how is the show’s impressive popularity going to make an impression on your kids?
Consider this quote from a Fortune magazine article: “With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, Andi Mack is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Television reflects the real life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows. Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus’ story unfold.”
Some serious parenting questions are floating around these days. How do we raise our kids with traditional values for marriage and family in a world that is increasingly teaching them those values are wrong, even racist? How should parents respond to television shows like Andi Mack that normalize sin and redefine it as “diversity” or “inclusion?” Is a television show just entertainment, or will it impact the way your children think? Should parents tell their tweens they can’t watch the most popular show on TV?
I’d love it if you would give your feedback to those questions in the comment section below. The conversations between Christian parents need to increase. You can count on the world’s point of view to be vocal.
Is television reflecting the culture, or is television helping to create the culture? Consider another quote: “Using Gallup data taken from interviews with over 1.6 million adults, demographer Gary J. Gates reported that 10 million Americans—4 percent of the population—now identify as LGBT. That includes a record-high 7.3 percent of people born between 1980 and 1998 who now identify as LGBT—up from 5.8 percent in 2012.”
The standard argument is that more people are just “admitting” to being LGBT because it is more acceptable. I’ve not found an article that considered the idea that more people are entering the lifestyle hoping to find acceptance from others. I think the “record-high” increase could easily indicate both options.
Should the issue of homosexuality matter to a parent who is raising heterosexual children? Will shows like Andi Mack do anything more than entertain your children? Will television change your children’s values?
I would like to allow history to answer that question. In 1970, 29 percent of American adults believed premarital sex was acceptable behavior. By 2012, the percentage had grown to almost 60. Those percentages reflect Americans of all ages. I wonder what those numbers would be if the only people asked were in high school and college. It was in the 1970s that television began to increasingly show men and women having unmarried sex. Recently, television has begun to increasingly show same-sex relationships. Is that having an impact on our culture?
This article isn’t intended to scare you; it is intended to encourage some serious thought. The Bible tells us that everyone sins (Romans 3:23). In other words, sin is normal. But Scripture warns against what is happening in our culture today. Sin is normal, but Christians should never normalize sin as something that should be tolerated or accepted.
The question every Christian parent needs to be asking is: How do we raise our kids to understand the difference? Andi Mack’s lessons are popular, but God’s lessons are truth. God’s word is not full of suggestions for our kids; it is full of laws and guidelines. Christians are tolerating things that Christ would not, and that is an unsafe and ungodly position.
Jesus was concluding his Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus went on to say that some who believe they should be allowed into heaven will hear him say, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
Christians are called to believe God’s word is truth and live in obedience to his influence. Christian parents have the unequaled responsibility of teaching our kids that lesson. What will you do with the lessons from Andi Mack? Will you casually accept the show as entertainment, or will you use the show to help your kids think biblically instead?
This is my concern: apathy toward or acceptance of Andi Mack’s lessons will impact the way your children think about themselves, others, and, most importantly, the lessons of Christ. You have some important conversations ahead. As parents, you need to help your kids learn how to discern the truth, and the lies that are represented as truth, in television programming. The popularity of shows like Andi Mack matter to our culture, and especially to our kids.