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:
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
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!