- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2011

Culture Challenge of the Week: Secularism

I recently had the opportunity to ask Steve McEveety, famed producer of such powerful and meaningful films as “The Passion of the Christ,” “Braveheart” and “We Were Soldiers,” what he thinks the culture challenge of our time is. He answered, without hesitation, “Secularism.”

He said our culture is dead set on teaching our children that they are merely “material beings,” that there is nothing more to life.

Mr. McEveety is right.

Our children are steeped in a tea of emptiness that emphasizes gadgets galore, immediate gratification and pornography. It’s now almost unheard of for a child or teenager to be exposed to the real questions of life, such as “Why am I here?” or “What happens after I die?” or “What is my purpose in life?”

Educators think those topics are too heavy for children, that the questions are, by their nature, judgmental, and thus off-limits.

Hollywood doesn’t want our kids to stop and ponder such questions because if they do, they just might come to the conclusion that there is a God and there is more to life than mere entertainment.

Mr. McEveety, now with MPower Pictures, is one of a rare breed in Hollywood that understands that what children really crave is truth, meaning and to know there is something more than the latest fad.

“It’s real simple. We need to teach our sons and daughters that human beings are not just physical - unlike animals, we are spiritual beings. If we ignore that, we are ignoring the better half of our life. If we teach our kids to ignore that, they never really live.”

How To Save Your Family From Missing the Meaning of Life

Thank God that amid a sea of trashy, simplistic and trivial films created to manipulate our kids, there is a company like MPower Pictures that has brought adults thought-provoking movies such as “Bella” and “The Stoning of Soraya M.”

This week, MPower will release a movie designed to bring out the best in our children, a film that respects them as more than animals in heat.

“Snowmen” is a heart-warming film that affirms that our children are of high value - that they can aspire to more than merely living to satisfy their immediate desires.

It explores the taboo subject of spirituality in such a natural manner that even the youngest viewer understands how important it is while also being thoroughly entertained.

“We explore the eternal world in a way that is not frightening for children,” Mr. McEveety said. “And we let them know that it’s not just what you do that matters, it’s how you do it.”

The film is appropriately subtitled, “Because Every One Counts” - a message that every child needs to be reminded of.

Mr. McEveety said, “The central ‘take-aways’ for children are: What will your legacy be? What will you do today that says, ‘I was here’ tomorrow? How do you communicate what you value most?”

“Snowmen” is rated PG, mainly for dealing with the reality of death. It’s a part of life we must learn to discuss with our children, and the movie approaches it in a manner that will help you open the conversation. It also is filled with the wonderful messages of redemption, forgiveness and how important true friends are.

Featuring familiar faces, including the incredibly talented Christopher Lloyd (the nutty but warm and sincere inventor in “Back to the Future”) and Ray Liotta (“Field of Dreams” and “Goodfellas”), it also has less familiar younger stars, including Bobby Coleman as Billy, the lead actor, who plays a cancer-stricken child; Billy’s new best bud, Howard, charmingly played by Bobb’e J. Thompson; and the lovely Demi Peterson as Gwen, Billy’s female interest.

Visit www.SnowmenMovie.com to view a trailer, see a list of theaters where the film debuts Friday and sign up for information on the forthcoming DVD, to be released on Nov. 29 (which would make a great Christmas gift).

Our children are smarter than we think, and they seek a deeper meaning of life than what MTV serves up. “Snowmen” respects that about them, and at the same time it delightfully rejoices in their childlike antics. Preteens will love it for the entertainment value, the honest portrayal of their generation and the fact that finally, someone recognizes their need to know there is “something more.”

“That’s what’s so beautiful about ‘Snowmen.’ It confirms that there is something eternal. It makes children think about what really matters,” Mr. McEveety said.

And what matters most to Mr. McEveety? “I just want to walk through the pearly gates.”

What matters most to your children? Watch “Snowmen” with them and then have that conversation.

c Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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