Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Superbook and Sesame Street

It is so important that guard what our children watch on TV. What may seem cute and innocent could have a long term spiritual and moral influence on them. So many times we say that what they watch is just for fun and has no influence, but something that happened this week really showed me otherwise.

If you are like me, then you grew up with Sesame Street. The Sesame Street that I remember had the big puppets, the alphabet, numbers, Grover teaching us the difference between near and far, Kermit the Frog reporting the news, Big Bird learning how to ride his tricycle and trying to prove that Snuffy existed, Linda teaching us sign language, and the Tweedlebugs in Bert and Ernie's flower box.

I put the TV on this week and saw that Sesame Street was on. Wonderful, I thought. Addie will get a chance to see a show that Mommy grew up with.

When we started watching, two big puppets were naming different articles of ice skating apparel in both English and Spanish. Addie got comfortable against the couch, and I texted Brian "We are watching Sesame Street. Addie loves it."

Then, they began counting from 1-20. However, some weird looking artsy drawn figures with masks that looked like either voodoo or witchdoctor masks were going across the screen with kids yelling out the numbers.

I immediately changed the channel.

Addie looked at me with a question mark. I just said, "Sorry, Mama. We can't watch those things. Jesus is not happy with that." After a few minutes, I put it back and there was a boy counting by 5's to 20 using his hands.

Good! We're back on track, I thought.

Then Elmo and a character I was not familiar with (Abby Cadabby) came on. Elmo said he wished he had a friend. The fairy looking character said, "Okay, I will use magic to bring you one." I turned off the cable, put in one of Addie's Veggie Tale videos, and said, "I'm sorry, Mama. We won't be watching Sesame Street anymore." She didn't care since The Ultimate Veggie Tales Silly Song Countdown was on, but I did. I texted Brian and said, "We won't be watching Sesame Street anymore. It's not the same show we grew up on."

(Edit 2013: Netflix has some of the older episodes of the show available for streaming. We occasionally watch an episode from there, but I am always present and have the remote ready to skip what I do not want my children being exposed to.)

Although Sesame Street is quite educational, there are things that I do not want my daughter being educated in. Yes, we live in a world that is quickly becoming a melting pot, but we need to shelter our children from the ungodly spiritual things out there that can destroy their faith and bring confusion to their young minds and hearts. As parents we need to determine what is multi-cultural and what is spiritual. In some cases there is no distinction. We need to guard our children.

There is a vast storehouse out there of resources for us to use with our children to teach and train them in God's Word. When I was younger, CBN ministries (Pat Robertson's organization) put out a cartoon series called Superbook. It was designed to be a ministry outreach to children in Japan. My sister and I loved them as little girls, and I knew we had a video cassette somewhere in my parents' garage that had almost every episode. However, with all of the boxes still there, I knew I would never find them.

Then, one evening as my sister was watching the 700 club, the anchors were talking about the new Superbook series that was just in the process of being completed. My sister called, donated, and in a few weeks received her DVDs in the mail.
 
Once again, I fell in love with the series which has been redone with computer animation and new story lines. However, I was not the only one who fell in love with the show. My little girl gets so excited when we pop in the DVD and she sees the intro. I think it is on her little list on favorite shows.

The idea behind the series is that two modern day children experience situations in the here and now and are taken back in time by Superbook (aka. The Bible) to live through one of the Bible accounts which can help them come back to face whatever difficulty they were having. The first episode, which we have, is called A Giant Adventure and is the account of David and Goliath.

I put it on for Addie on Wednesday morning as I was doing some cleaning up, and that is when it happened. During the scene where Goliath tries to verbally intimidated David and then David tells Goliath that God is with him and that He will give Goliath into his hands, I heard a little girl's voice. I went to see what was going on and there was Addie, standing in front of the TV, yelling at Goliath using the same tones and inflection as David. When David stopped, she stopped. You see, my daughter was being influenced all along by what she had been seeing and hearing.

Our children are little sponges. They absorb everything around them, for good or bad. Which makes us question, "What kinds of influences are we putting in front of them?"

I, for one, feel that it is my responsibility to give Addie all of training and instruction that I can so that she comes to a realization of her need for Christ at an early age. The influences that she has here at home will determine a great deal as to what her spiritual thermometer will be like.

When I stand before God one day, I don't want Him to ask me, "And where are your children? Why aren't they here?" Yes, the ultimate choice is theirs, but how will they know if I do not teach them?
How will they know what the truth is if they are exposed to every idea under the sun?

I heard once that in a bank the tellers are trained to recognized counterfeit money by only being exposed to the real thing. When counterfeit money does come their way, they recognize it immediately because they are so familiar with the "truth". May we always exposed our children to the truth so that they immediately recognize the lies.

Click on today's title for a link to get your own copy of Superbook: A Giant Adventure. (I am not being compensated for this in any way.)

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