Thursday, November 20, 2008

Depravity and Super Why

I've mentioned before that I really like the show Super Why. I like the way that DeLaynie interacts with it. I like that she gets so into it. There is a problem with it, though. This show always turns the villain into a victim.

Toward the end of each show, the Super Readers (Super Why, Princess Presto, AlphaPig, and Wonder Red; yes, I said Wonder Red) ask the villain of the story why they keep doing whatever it is that they are doing to cause trouble. The bad guy almost always answers the same way. "I don't want to, but it's in my story." Then Super Why changes the story and the bad guy turned good makes buddies with the original victim. There are some slight deviations, but that's the formula.

It seems like kids have a real issue understanding that they are capable of not doing whatever their depraved little hearts tell them to do. So, why do we create a show that encourages them to refuse to take responsibility and blame some other, unseen force? Even in Christian shows, there always seems to be some sort of reason for the bad behavior. "I lied so I wouldn't get in trouble." "I said that mean thing because she was being mean to me." "I didn't mean to break the vase!"

When do we teach children that they act bad because they are bad? We're doing them a great disservice by not acknowledging their evil little natures. No parent wants to look at his or her child and see sin, but it's hard not to. Just give 'em a minute. Before children can know forgiveness from their sins, they have to acknowledge that they are sinners. They aren't going to come to that conclusion on their own. It's a great priviledge as a parent to guide our children to the throne of God, and the first step is to help them understand that they have "fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Only when they understand the debt can they understand the grace extended to them.

I'm not kicking Super Why out of the house. I'm just going to take every opportunity to teach DeLaynie and Ella the truth of why they do what they do. It's not enough to teach moral truths. We have to teach spiritual truths. Even as we teach them that we are all sinners, we also have to give them unconditional love. Love and godly discipline go hand in hand.

So, somehow a discussion on kids' cartoons turned into a sermon. I hope it wasn't too annoying. And remember that I'm usually preaching to myself more than anyone else.

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