We’ve recently had some run-ins with superheroes at our house. It seemed harmless enough at first, but it has started to cause problems with behavior. Spiderman recently swung from his web (i.e. the shower curtain) and ended up in the ER with 4 staples in his head. That was clearly a problem, but the greater problem, really, has been the physical aggression and the level of disrespect and the mood swings that seem to have escalated since we’ve invited these wonder men into our home. But it was the ER visit that made me start really thinking about it.
Yesterday, at H1’s request, we got a copy of some Batman cartoons from the library. I watched one with him, and truly it was horrible. Very dark, very violent. But H1 loves the excitement. I spent a lot of time yesterday pondering the role of this sort of entertainment in the life our family. I asked God to speak to me about it. It came to me that this is just the beginning of our job as parents in determining what forms of entertainment are appropriate for our children, and we have to learn how to discern what is good and right for our family. Would we let our son surf porn online just because “everyone’s doing it?”
Still, taking something a child loves away from him is never easy as a parent. At least it’s not for me. I dread conflict. I dread tantrums. It’s a weakness of mine as a parent and an area I know God is asking me to grow in.
As nap time approached today (when H1 watches TV while H2 naps), I was dreading the meltdown that would come when I informed H1 that there would be no Batman today. I thought. I prayed. I fretted. Then I remembered the following passage:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I decided to read it to H1. I asked God to guide me. I prayed to H1’s guardian angel. When he asked me to put on Batman, I asked him to first sit on the couch with me and read something from the Bible. I told them that they were words written by Paul, who used to be Saul. (Saul’s conversion story made a huge impact on him and he’s always remembered it.)
I read it to him and then I summarized it again for him, telling him that God wants us to spend our time with things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and excellent. I told him that I’d been thinking about the TV shows we’ve been watching and I don’t think that Batman fits into this category. I waited for the protest. He was quiet for a moment and then he said, “It’s not true, but it is honorable.” I said, “Well, beating people up isn’t honorable and Batman does a lot of beating people up.” He was quiet again for a second and then he picked up a copy of Popular Mechanics for Kids and said, “How about we watch this instead?”
I wanted to weep! I told him I was very proud of him for choosing a more suitable program and he is now happily watching something I feel very good about.
I never cease to be amazed by these miracles. I wish I could remember that when we seek to do the Lord’s will and ask for His help, He will make the seemingly impossible not only possible, but easy.
Thanks be to God.