When gathering ideas for my daughter’s junior year Modern Literature reading list , Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, was at the top of the list. Post Apocalyptic literature is a genre near and dear to both of us…and since the movie was also coming out this year, I knew she would love it.
I took her to see the movie before she read the book and as it turns out, I’m glad I did. At the time, she was finishing up The Lovely Bones, (extremely intense and hard to get through), and apparently she was not half as excited to read Ender’s Game as I wanted her to be.
Until she saw the movie!
She loved it! I loved it! I was sorry that dad and the boys had missed it. (It was mom and daughter night, after all.) We walked out of the movie theater talking a mile a minute…terribly excited to discuss every nook and cranny of Ender’s world. She and I stayed up half the night marveling at the incredible worldview of this story.
We thought the movie was very well done, by the way. Could you tell? Not as good as the book, (by far), but definitely worth seeing. We continued to ponder over it for days afterward, and without any prompting from her mother, she quickly wrapped up The Lovely Bones and jumped headfirst into the world of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin and his “Game”.
She completed the book in a less than a week. When she finished it was like coming up for air. At first, she was very quiet about it. I love that silence. The stillness and quietude of a deep thinker.
-Watching the gears as they turn and work in her mind.
-Waiting as she pieces together her thoughts with her feelings like a puzzle.
-Wonder-struck by the passion that starts out as a spark but then ignites into a fire.
-Welcoming the opinions, convictions, and lifeblood of who she is.
The silence was broken as we began again to talk about Ender’s Game. A very different conversation this time.
Her: Mom, I don’t want the boys to ever play those war games that everyone talks about, okay?
Me: What war games?
Her: You know, Call of Duty…Halo…any of them.
Me: Why is that?
Her: Because…don’t you get it? That’s exactly the point of this book, mom. Well, one of the main points, anyway.
Me: What makes you say so?
Her: I think our world is doing exactly what the book warns us about. We are choosing to put violence in the hands of our young people and warping their innocence by calling it a game.
Me: Well done.
Her: I want them to see this movie.
Me: We can arrange that. Let me talk to dad.
Well, tonight we watched Ender’s Game as a family. It was interesting to watch my boys’ excitement. Their dad and I could tell that they thought it was going to be a cool space movie, or something a long those lines. And as we watched them, we wondered if they would “get it”.
I can tell you that I had many conversations with the Lord while they watched…their eyes mesmerized. I was hoping…praying…that they would be able to discern the symbolism and meaning lying under the surface of all the action, lights, and sound.
When the movie ended, they announced that they loved it! When we asked them why and what was their favorite part, they didn’t know. They just liked it.
Our family has had our struggles on the topic of war games and whether or not they will be permitted in our home. (They currently aren’t, by the way.) Our teenage son argues passionately that he is the only guy he knows who is not allowed to play them. Our preteen son could care less, at this point, as long as there’s Minecraft.
Right now, we have no future plans to introduce war games into our family. I hope it stays that way. I don’t like them and I don’t think they have a place here. That’s what is working best for our family anyway. Every family is different.
At least we were able to have a good conversation together about it. The boys didn’t have as much to say about it as their sister. But, they did contribute great thoughts and opinions about Ender’s Game. They are great young men!
My preteen did say, “Mom, you just wanted us to watch this so that we won’t want to play Call of Duty, right?”