Recently my husband and I just had our very first television censorship battle as parents. I guess we are fortunate that it has taken this long but since we don’t have cable, I suppose our 4 year old isn’t exposed to too many choices. He basically just watches KERA which is packed full of good television. When I say good television, I mean every show has some sort of value for Brett’s little brain. He is either learning about letters or words from WordWorld, being exposed to scientific concepts by Sid the Science Kid, widening his vocabulary with Martha the Talking Dog, or just plain learning about everyday things like animals, stars, wind, fear, or food with Curious George. He really doesn’t watch a lot of television but it’s nice that when he does watch (or when we do need to plop him down in front of the idiot box for a time) it at least has some value.
The battle we had this week was over the show Sponge Bob Square Pants. Brett has been a fan of the character for over a year now even though he had never watched the show. He has shoes, figurines and some shirts. He watched his first episode on Wednesday and loved it! I have to be honest; I didn’t really pay attention until he came into the room and said, “I’m gonna kick your butt! I’m gonna knock your brain out!” I asked him where he heard that and he said “SpongeBob.” So I decided to take an interest in this show… and I watched a few episodes with him. Quickly I decided this show had zero value for my little guy’s mind. I told him I didn’t think he should watch it anymore and he got very upset.
After talking to several moms, I discovered that Sponge Bob is banned at nearly every single one of my friend’s houses. I felt like I had made a good choice… and the decision was finalized without debate. No more Sponge Bob for us!!!!
This morning, Brett wanted to watch it but I said no. He cried saying that he really liked the show so he still wanted to watch it. I told him it wasn’t good for him. He told me he didn’t care, he said he liked it and begged for me to let him see it again. I explained to him that mommy and daddy have to make the same types of decision for ourselves about television. I explained that just because we like something… doesn’t mean it is good for us.
A little over two years ago, my husband and I took an inventory of the television shows we were watching. We had just finished up an intense study of the Bible and to be honest, many of the things we were allowing to pass through our brains were in direct conflict with what we had learned from our study of God’s Word. There were several shows we decided we needed to delete from our viewing. Let me be clear here, we weren’t giving them up because we didn’t like them anymore or because they didn’t make us laugh anymore… we gave them up because they weren’t good for our brain or our spiritual connection. Here are a few of the shows we “let go”… Two & A Half Men, Desperate Housewives and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Personally, I also gave up Greys Anatomy. I’m not judging anyone who watches these shows… I’m just telling you what we decided.
It is so easy to fall right back into the trap of mindless, brainless and backwards brain feeding because let’s face it… it’s funny! Each season, a whole new list of shows comes out and…. here we are sitting on our butts wasting our time letting backwards, brainless stuff pass right through us. I don’t want to continue to be a person who is numb to sexual promiscuity, foul language, blatant disrespect of others, marital infidelity, dishonesty… and the list goes on. I want the numbness to go away so the Spirit can work with my conscience on a different level so I won’t willingly or inadvertently participate in those things. When I look at it, most of my shows go against everything I am working toward in my relationship with Christ. Why would I open my mind to it just to get a good laugh???? Even if I don’t think it is affecting me…. it is.
If I am going to hold my son’s television to such a high standard, should I not hold my own watching to the same standard? I ask myself, why am I so concerned about what goes into his mind? Because he is young and he has his whole life ahead of him, right? I want him to be a good person, love the Lord, have a happy life, respect others and use his brain for good.
I may be 36… but I am young and I have my whole life ahead of me… my eternal life. What I allow in my brain (good and bad), what I allow to affect me and change me (good or bad), what I allow myself to do or not do (good and bad) is what will determine what kind of eternal life I will have… if that isn’t of utmost importance, I don’t know what is!
I have this sin nature that I fight everyday… every second of everyday and it is a struggle I know will never end. There’s a show we DVR called “The Blessed Life.” It’s a 30 minute program done by Gateway Church where lead pastor Robert Morris shares some of his messages. I absolutely love Pastor Morris! He makes the Word make so much sense, he makes it relevant to today and he makes me feel like I can improve. (To see full episodes of The Blessed Life or get more info about Gateway or Robert Morris go to www.theblessedlife.com) Here’s what’s interesting, when I sit down in front of the television to relax after a long day and the list of DVR’d shows comes up, I have a choice. I can choose to spend 30 minutes watching Robert Morris tell me something I know will not only be interesting, but it will improve my spirit and my walk with God… or I can watch the primetime comedy Rules of Engagement that will reinforce society’s view that it’s okay to use women for sex (Russell), it’s okay to manipulate your spouse (Audrey & Jeff), and it’s okay to live together and have premarital sex (Adam & Jenn). When faced with this choice… my natural instinct (my sin nature) always chooses Rules of Engagement. In fact, my brain actually says to me, “Ewe… I don’t want to watch Robert Morris.” If my husband picks “The Blessed Life” I will sort of do an internal eye roll… and watch it begrudgingly… even though I always end up getting into it, loving it and feeling like a better person when it is over. I never feel like a better person at the end of Rules of Engagement.
Brett is lucky he has a mommy and daddy who force him to do what’s good for him, even though he doesn’t appreciate it now. Sometimes I wish I had a physical life boss to tell me what’s best for me since my discipline kind of stinks. I’ve been doing better lately since I have been really trying to give all control to God. I pray for Him to guide me in all I do and to help me be more disciplined. I guess He is my life boss, but since He isn’t physical, it’s much easier to ignore His requests and guidance. My sin nature always picks the wrong thing but when I allow God to guide my choices, He will always help me push the play button for “The Blessed Life.”