Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I don’t read fiction very often. It is not that I hate it – in fact, it is just the opposite. I absolutely adore fiction. Nancy Drew lit the fire for me, but I quickly moved on to whatever I could devour. Spy books held a particular place of affection for me. I remember reading the Robert Ludlum series of novels when I was 13 years old, convinced that I would grow up to be a CIA agent.
However, my problem with fiction is that it turns me into a really bad wife and mother. I become so engrossed that nothing else in the world exists as I turn page after page. All requests fall on deaf ears because I am so immersed in the book. As such, I have made it a rule to only indulge in fiction on vacation. While my family is happily distracted by the sun, sand and water, I treat myself.
But, rules are meant to be broken. And when a pastor piqued my interest in The Hunger Gamestrilogy (he was complaining on his social media feed that the kids in his church were reading the series more than the Bible), I snuck a peak at the first book, which incidentally, my husband had just finished. For those of you who have been living under the rock, the crux of the story in The Hunger Games is a group of children who are conscripted by a despicably corrupt government to fight to the death in an elaborate arena. It’s like The Gladiator…on crack cocaine.
The series was as gripping as advertised. I was sucked in. I picked up the books in between coaching calls and administrative emails (ok, I am lying – the administrative emails got put on hold) and finished the books in three days. They were extremely good.
Later, over coffee, I was chatting about the trilogy with a friend. (After all, if you are going to blow off emails to read a good book, you might as well use it as fodder for excellent conversations over coffee.) She was commenting about the level of violence and I responded that I didn’t think it was that bad. She said, “Well, some of the parts were hard to read.” And then she cringed.
She cringed.
I continued to chit-chat in a light-hearted way, but I have since gone back to think about the cringe. And the violence. And why it didn’t affect me more profoundly.
This is what I realized. Going into the series, I was subconsciously prepared for it to be as heart-sickening as some of the stories I have been told over the years about child soldiers. For well over a decade, Eric and I have been (either peripherally or intimately) involved in the issue of children at risk. That is a fancy term that the United Nations uses to talk about kids around the world who are systematically abused for the pleasures or financial gains of adults.
When I was in my early twenties, I listened to horrifying stories by Phyllis Kilbourn about the conscription of children into Liberia’s civil war. I am still haunted by those stories. No, I will not relay them here, but let me assure you that they make The Hunger Games look like child’s play. And they are real.
As I realized that I was unaffected by the gory details that went in to the trilogy, something else occurred to me. The very fact that the series is “Child Soldiers Lite” opens up the doors for discussions about what is actually taking place around the world. It is an amazing teaching tool for children who are old enough (I am thinking at least 12 or 13) to read the series.
Harness all that indignation and anger your children are feeling about outrageous abuses of power. Listen to their deep desires for justice. Explain to them that they are feeling matters. Their emotions point to something that is close to the heart of Jesus…the least of these.
I think it is awesome that our kids are getting so engrossed in The Hunger Games. BecauseThe Hunger Games leads to a very natural conversation about the words of Jesus. And talkingabout the words of Jesus convicts us to follow the words of Jesus.
So, after you have had a conversation with your kids, challenge them to work towards solutions in parts of the world where young children are truly made to kill other children…and their own parents…and do other unthinkable things. They can fight on behalf of those kids. They can make a difference.
Of course, I am hopelessly biased towards my husband’s organization, World Relief Canada, but there are many others who are working diligently in Somalia, DR Congo and other parts of the world. Find out what you can do so that children in those parts of the world don’t have to live their own Hunger Games.

ERYN-FAYE FRANS, Canada's Passion Coach ®

1 comment:

  1. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but I have a different view about this movie/book trilogy. Please see my Christian blog for why I say this: http://revealingtruthtoday.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/the-hunger-games-exposed/