This was a conversation I had last week with son L as he and I were driving alone in the van. My apologies in advance to anyone whose children watch the "Sponge Bob" cartoon - no offense is intended. Personal family decision! But I thought this conversation was so insightful, I wanted to share it.
L: "Mommy, why do you let us sometimes watch violent war movies, but you don't let us watch Sponge Bob?"
Me: "That is an excellent question. Can you think of a reason?"
L: "Well, the war movies have a specific lesson you want us to learn."
Me: "That's one reason, certainly."
L: "But I can't figure out what's wrong with Sponge Bob."
Me: "Well, I'm sure that some episodes are better than others. But when I watched a couple of episodes back when you were little, to see if it was appropriate for our family, I was disappointed with the way the characters treated each other. There was quite a bit of disrespect. They sometimes put each other down in the name of "fun". I just didn't want you kids to be watching that and come to think that type of behavior was okay or acceptable in our family. It's kindof like junk food for the mind. A little of it is okay, but a steady diet would make you sick."
L: "Is that why some kids who have a lot of freedom are kindof rude or wild? Cuz they get to watch whatever they want and then they start acting like the characters they see?"
Me: "It could be one reason. Daddy and I really don't want to control you all your life. But we want to teach you how to handle the increasing freedom that you receive as you grow older. Some day you will make your own choices about what books you read, what movies you watch, and what tv shows you see. We want you to know the difference between good and best, and know what pleases the Lord, so you can make the best choices possible."
~~~~~~~~~~ Long Pause~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
L: "I love being a kid! Even though I'll get more freedom when I'm a grown up, I love my life as a kid. I love my family the way it is, and my friends the way they are. I wish things could just stay this way forever."
How I wish I could have known exactly what was going on in his head when he said that!