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3 Ways to Use The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Teach Your Kids About the Real World

It was my daughter who first noticed it.

"You have a moral reason behind everything you do, Mom," she said flatly.

To this day, I'm not sure if that was an accusation or a compliment. Considering she was in her early 20s at the time, it could have gone either way.

Until she made that statement, however, I never really thought of it like that. But she was right.

What she was referring to was not my piety or any virtue at all. It was the fact that I'm always on the hunt for "teachable" moments for my children. I'm the mom that turned a Disney vacation into a 10-day homeschool field trip.

It's a good parent's natural instinct to shield her child from harsh, cruel, and immoral influences. But it's a wise parent that can discern the maturity level of a child and then expose these elements from the safety of observation.

Living in a culture steeped in evil and deception gives us plenty of opportunities to provoke conversations with our teenagers. Teaching kids to navigate popular culture by using it is an extremely powerful and influential tool for explaining destructive ideologies.

If you have impressionable teens, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a great place to start. Before we get into some examples, let's clear something up first.

Catching Fire is not for young children. Nor is it another Twilight with an audience full of fantasizing adolescents.

There is an element of violence. While not particularly graphic by today's standards, the reason for the cruelty is beyond the comprehension of the under-10 crowd. My advice here is to wait until the movie comes to DVD, watch it first, and then decide if your child can handle the issues presented.

If a child is old enough to read the books, it's always best to start there.

Understanding the reason behind the violence takes the movie to another level. Which is exactly what makes this movie an excellent place to start.