This weekend the family went to see my cousin Brianne's play, 13 The Musical. It was put on by the local Children's Musical Theaterworks.
Honestly, all the kids were very talented. Brianne is seriously the happiest-looking kid when she is singing and dancing, and that really shown through her performance. Since it looked like the rest of the ensemble was sleepwalking through their dance moves, she looked rockin'.
And, it was also a really strange and interesting play.
Perhaps it's the part of me that wants to believe that 12 and 13-year-old's are innocent (or maybe I was just seriously naive when I was 13), but the play dealt with themes that I don't think I was ready to hear 12 and 13-year-old's poke fun at and sing about.
Since I try to do most of my thinking before I take to the blog,* I am pretty sure I've figured out my beef with the play.
I spent four years doing junior high ministry at my church, called the Edge**. While many of the kids attending Edge dealt with the problems that 12 and 13-year-old's in the play faced (like divorce and "crushes," among other stuff of modern teen culture), we spent our time trying to build the kids up instead of letting them further absorb the dangerously, but secretively, poisonous junk that the modern culture can thrust onto them.
Sure, we live in the real world. Things get heavy. Things get serious. Things can get tragic. But the Core Team serving in Edge were adults who wanted to show the kids that despite all of these circumstances that were out of our control, and all of the heavy, serious and tragic things that can happen, we as Catholic Christians have immense hope.
Jesus came to Earth, died for us, and rose again. God's guidance through the Holy Spirit and His Church is an ongoing, real part of our lives. And, if we let Him, God can put the big picture stuff for your life totally under His wing. He exposes the dangerous, secretive, poisonous junk for what it really is.
So, for me, since this play was sort of wallowing in the modern teen culture junk, I was a little turned off. I guess the director in me wished that it could have been a bit more uplifting in a different sense. It certainly wasn't meant to be a religiously-themed play (well, except for the main character's impending Bar Mitzvah).
It just reminded me that 13 is a very impressionable age. Kids will absorb what's around them. Hopefully their parents, families, friends and other important figures in their lives will help them see that there are bigger, better things worth absorbing.
**'Cause those kids would drive us to the Edge. Just kidding. Old Core Team joke there. Sorry.