Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our 'Protection' Policy

Last night it was 'Pizza & Video Night' at our house. It's a privilege that we all enjoy very much. We often make pizza together and the kids like to put their own toppings on, so that is really fun - and sometimes messy! Last night I started the dough in my bread machine and chopped up lots of veggies, shredded cheeses and sliced the last of our 'imported' pepperoni. While it was baking , we sat down to enjoy The Historian's video pick. After a few minutes we all realized it was a real dud - so disappointing! We turned it off and picked an old favorite from our video cupboard that we knew we'd enjoy.

In case you are wondering, the video was 'Surf's Up' and it sounded kind of cute for the kids, with a good moral lesson. My husband is having a hard time finding anything that lines up with our family values on the shelves of our local video store. We should have logged on to Plugged In Online first and checked it out. This would have been enough to keep us from popping it in the DVD player:

"Cody clearly dodges responsibilities other penguins his age have to
shoulder. He complains about having to work, and he can't see why desire to go surfing instead is a big deal. All in all, he exhibits a rebellious, self-centered attitude and never experiences any real repercussions for it. A flashback to Glen and Cody's youth shows them fighting over who'll get to eat the tuna that Mom just regurgitated for them. "

I personally had a problem with the attitudes and disturbing family dynamics right from the beginning, but was willing to give it a chance for 10 minutes or so. It didn't get better. I wasn't altogether happy with the cross dressing chicken, but that's another story. Usually my husband manages to find something worth watching, but everyone picks a dud once in a while. We forgave him!

I should say that we don't watch much t.v. at our house. It's partly because I have a problem with t.v. and my utter lack of self control in that area. Long ago God showed me that I am easily lured into setting many 'unclean' things before my eyes when it comes in the guise of 'entertainment'. We tried a satellite company once that promised we could pick and choose which channels we could receive. I think we were the only customers ever to block more than 80% of the 'basic' package. We eventually used their '90 day money back guarantee' - a first for the company as well, since it was apparent that no one seemed to know just how to give us our money back! I've already confessed to my vacation t.v. habit - HGTV addiction and all. If we had that channel at home - well, I'd have a lot of great ideas, but my house would be a shambles, I'm sure.

Another reason is our view of time. Our days are numbered by God - and they are fleeting. No one can take back the hours spent in front of the t.v. - they are just gone. Sure, we can relax, laugh, and maybe even learn a thing or two. We can also be swayed into thinking happiness involves a new car, fabulous house, perfect diamond or supermodel body shape. Personally, I find a lot of discontentment creeps into my heart when I watch t.v. - my reality just does not measure up! So, do I really want to spend my time in a pursuit that makes me forget to 'be content with such things as I have'? I don't think so!

We do have a t.v. that we use for videos - nothing fancy mind you, but it is 17 years old and is still working, most of the time. We also have a tiny 5" t.v. in our bedroom and sometimes watch the news together there after the kids are in bed. I think we get 2 or 3 channels clearly. In the summer we can go weeks without ever turning it on, since we both prefer a good book!

The most important reason we don't have more t.v. is our family 'protection' policy - and it's not just for the kids! We are seeking to live holy and blameless lives, set apart for God purposes. We base our 'protection' policy in God's Word and we have taught the children this handy 'measuring stick' verse:

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on
these things.

As far as I can see from the commercials for the new fall season of t.v. shows, not too many of the programs for grown-ups or children fit this criteria. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I'm not willing to fill my mind with something ungodly just to find out. I know myself because I have fallen into the trap before - if I start watching and get into the storyline, I'll find a way to justify the loose morals, graphic violence or disturbing storyline. "It's not too bad, it's just a show!"

The thing is, if it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit! We have the measuring stick clearly laid out. We are looking for truth, honesty, justice, and purity. We are seeking loveliness, goodness, virtue and praiseworthy deeds. Yes, even in our entertainment! We are looking for ways to keep on meditating on the Word of God, focusing our hearts on prayer, and enjoying knowing the One who seeks intimacy with His creation. We love to laugh and relax, but if it doesn't line up with God's plan for our leisure time, is it really worthy of our time?

We have been accused of being 'over-protective' by some, sheltering our children from 'real life'. We also have been told that our kids have been exposed to excessively 'violent' stuff'. It's a bit confusing.

Our kids love A Visit With Mrs.G and some of those Bible stories can be very disturbing. We have endeavored to make sure that the first listening of each new tape was supervised, and those stories that are too graphic for bedtime are reserved for afternoon listening time. They are learning so much from God's Word and they astound us daily with their recall of the details of these amazing stories. There is a lot of blood, war and sin in the Bible, but we are not going to stop reading it with our children. In our opinion, Mrs. Griffiths is truly a gifted storyteller who is using her ability to the glory of God.

We all really enjoy Adventures In Odyssey from Focus on the Family, but some of their story lines have been sad, violent or disturbing. We make the choice to listen to them with the children and use them as a teaching tool and discussion springboard. We appreciate that Focus gives parents ample warning when a sensitive topic is being discussed, and have often withheld the story from the children until we had a chance to preview it, or until it was more age appropriate.

Even those fondly remembered 'Little House on the Prairie' episodes have been carefully screened in our home. Not all of them have been appropriate for our family - some were just too dramatic for our children at the time, and we may allow them to watch them later on as they mature. We'll see.

God calls us to be discerning. As parents we are charged with the responsibility of teaching, guiding, disciplining and protecting our children and ourselves. What we 'set before our eyes' is obviously included in that. We're making these choices for our family, and not judging others for making different choices. We don't pretend that our family protection policy is perfect, or even that we have always followed our own guidelines. It's a tough thing, being strangers and aliens in a world we were not made for. It is hard to be set apart, and to guard our hearts and minds.

With God's help, we are trying. He is the One Who guides our steps and protects us from harm. He is the One Who sets His angels guard over us. He is the One Who teaches us to listen to the still small voice and be guided away from temptation. We are just doing the 'watch and pray' part - seeking to be faithful in turning away from that which would hinder our children, and ourselves. Seeking to live praiseworthy lives, so that others may see and know that God alone is worthy of our worship.

I'd enjoy knowing about the truthful, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy entertainment you find for your family!


  1. y'know tv is something that i've been starting to feel a conviction about. my daughter is so young that at times it's easy to think "oh well she doesn't understand what's going on" and yet they are images that are being imprinted on her brain. i want more than that and i want better than that for my baby girl. thankfully even at 1.5 yrs old she's started a love for reading and we can entertain each other for a long time by looking at books. but still tv does creep in and it is a weakness of mine i have to deal with.

    just thought i'd let you know how God is using that blog entry of yours in my life.

    may the LORD bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you peace forever.

  2. Nancy - Books are our favorite things too - and we are enforcing our 'protection policy' there too! Not everything that the kids would like to read is good for them, so we try really hard to make sure that our reading material measures up!
    I'm glad that you are seeking to follow the Lord's leading in the area of t.v. - I know first hand how hard it is to break the t.v. habit - for me, cold turkey was the only way! I'll be praying for you!

  3. i totally agree with you about screening books ~ not just for content but for being age appropriate. sometimes what is alright for one child to read another child is not ready for.

    i am my baby's protector and it is my job to make sure not only is her body healthy but her mind is as well and the best way i know to do that is to surround her not only with love and prayer and a life lived as an example but also to surround her with what is wholesome.

  4. I agree with you about the tv... we have cable and watch about ummm 3 channels! I enjoy the old movies, when you could tell the men from the women easily. HGTV just makes me want to turn off the tv and get to work... when we first had it I watched quite a bit and was inspired... now I just HGTV myself around the house! The food channel has been helpful, but you can get all the recipes online! So why take the time to watch it except for technique? My husband is the more avid tv watcher, not being a devoted reader like myself and the children. He watches fox news, and science channels and occasionally sports... but he is quick to join in on anything else I plan for the family and ignore the tv! We have collected a good family video library...We save them for Friday nights or afternoon play time. Have you heard of Feature Films for Families? Some of their movies have good topics for discussion, the kids respect their parents and the movies are not 'slap stick stupid humor filled' just good stories.

  5. Hi Rebecca - thanks for your input! My MIL introduced us to Feature Films for Families many years ago and we have quite a few of them. Like you, we don't allow much t.v. during the week and try to save it for Friday night, but when the kids are sick or the weather is yucky, I do allow a video in the afternoon if we have had good attitudes during school work.

    Our daughter received a 'Webkinz' for her birthday and having 1/2 hour to do that each day is also an earned priveledge. I'm not really happy with Webkinz - the focus on materializm is disturbing. We are continuing to moniter and pray since it is something new to us.

  6. Hi Heather,

    We also do not watch much tv. I, like you, can easily get addicted to shows that are neither lovely nor of good report. TV can soak up so much time, not to mention the affect on our minds.

    We do let the kids watch public television occasionally with supervision and we try to save 'good' movies for special family times.

    We also try to take walks, hikes, bike rides and play in the backyard for fun family times. Also inviting friends over--or a family, single, widow, etc. at church that we don't know very well. These times provide rich conversation and stimulation for us and the kids.

    My husband is also good at playing games with the kids--like Scrabble, memory, UNO, etc. I am so thankful for his involvement.

    That's just some of the things we do at our house to try to make sure our activities honor God.

  7. Wonderful post!! I wish we were better about turning off the TV. And after our older son's latest parent-teacher conference, it will be going off a lot more--he has developed an attitude!! And I know it's from TV, as well as peers. Even though Nickelodeon has some "children's" programming, the attitudes that the kids portray on that channel has taken it's toll. I blame myself for this and only myself as our child has become rude and disrepectful in the classroom. TV time will be limited!!


  8. Those are all things we also enjoy Heather - We are big fans of Skipbo, Uno and Dominoes - especially Amtrack and Chicken foot, taught to us by Grammy! I have such fond memeories of playing games with my grandparents - especially Chinese Checkers.

    Oh Paula - I'm sorry your child has been infected with the bad attitude bug! I'm glad you have identified it's source and put a stop to allowing your child to be exposed to it! Personally we have enough 'home grown' bad attitude around here without importing it from t.v.:-O

    Lots of times if there is something that the kids have heard about from other kids and they really want to see it, I'll watch for a few minutes with NO SOUND and observe the characters expressions and body langauge - often I can judge a show just by the looks and attitudes there - without being distracted by the content. If I don't want those 'faces' showing up on my precious one's faces - that show hits the 'no' side of the list.
    You might try it - you'll be surprised at how much attitude they are packing in to even the non-verbal communication.

  9. This was a great post, Heather! I appreciated your honesty and transparency. I too can get caught up in ungoldy viewing habits!

    I really appreciate it when a family makes convictions and sticks with them! Growing up we didn't have a TV around most of the time, and it didn't hurt me at all! In fact, looking back, I can appreciate the absence of television!

  10. Our televison viewing was limted too, and I don't think it hurt us at all! There was a lot less choice way back then and the industry was more concerned about propriety and held a higher moral standard. I think! I got really well aquainted with books and my sister threw herself into sports and social activities, and we both turned out just fine!


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