The American family drama series, 7th Heaven, started in 1996 and ran until 2007. 7th Heaven is considered the longest running season that the WB has ever aired. The show has captured a large audience of all ages because of its witty, charming and heartwarming stories. The seasons of 7th Heaven are about a minister and his wife who have seven children, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, who experience their everyday drama as a family. The father, Eric Camden, is a full time minister, who balances his time between the needs of his church and his family. His wife, Annie, is a stay at home mother who takes care of the house and their children. The children, from oldest to youngest are - Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon, Ruthie, David and Sam. Adding to their large family, they have a dog named Happy, who is very loveable.
Every episode consists of a life lesson or an everyday family problem that is addressed. These life lessons and family problems range from dating to teen suicide to cheating to stealing to sibling rivalry to parent disagreement to gang violence. These problems are either resolved as a family, the parents stepping in, friends giving advice or the siblings helping out. The family encourages and motivates each other to be honest and to do what is right.
An Agent of Socialization
7th Heaven is an agent of socialization because the show is based on family, which is the "most important agent of socialization in the United States, especially for children" (Schaefer 89). Eric, Annie and their children have a home full of wonderful memories and upsetting heartaches. The show shows that the support of a family is very important when you are going through the up's and down's of everyday life. Eric and Annie also help show and guide their children into the appropriate gender roles. Eric and Annie do not believe that only women do the cooking or only men work, but they raise their children showing them the gender roles accepted by society.
School, another agent of socialization, is a major part of 7th Heaven. Eric and Annie encourage their children to try hard and to succeed at school. They both help their children with their school work and their struggles in the subjects they are not good at. Schools "fulfill the function of teaching children the values and customs of the larger society" (Schaefer 91). The Camden children learn many valuable lessons at school - through their teachers and their peers. I believe that 7th Heaven is also an agent of socialization because they teach their children responsibility. They do not just hand money to their children when they want it. When they are old enough they encourage them to obtain a job and learn "to behave appropriately in an occupation" since it "is a fundamental aspect of human socialization" (Schaefer 91).