Daniel Tiger and Moral Behaviorism


Daniel Tiger

The only show that my toddlers watch 5-7 days out of the week is Daniel Tiger.  We only have Netflix so I can just put one on in the morning as I’m cleaning up from breakfast before we go out to do any errands or go to Bible study.  Both of my little boys love it.

I do believe my older son’s first sentence was (in his own language) “Daniel Tiger rides a school bus”.  School bus is his term for anything that moves that’s big.  And my younger son does The Twist when the theme music begins.

I love that the show is based on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which I loved as a child.  Teaches good things to kids and helps them learn social behavior that is acceptable.  My mister even was telling me the other night that he was able to put a Daniel Tiger song into practice during a conversation with some co-workers.

And I write this blog  post from a stand point of a Mom who is in the throws of trying to get my two year old to behave.  I’m trying to teach him about authority and what is right and wrong.  When not to run away, why shoving his brother is wrong, how to share toys, why we don’t spit out food onto the table, why we don’t pitch fits when we leave time with Daddy at his store, why we don’t scream in the car long enough to make his brother cry.

Daniel Tiger is great at teaching what to do and how to be nice while doing it – playing nicely with others.  Obeying your parents, giving hugs, etc.  But, if that is all we teach our children as Christian parents, than we are missing the (gospel) boat entirely.

When my son disobeys, like he is right now because I’ve asked him to be quiet and play in his room or take a nap and he is singing and talking at the top of his lungs, I have trouble because I go to him and I say “I love you, E, BUT I really want you to obey Mommy.”  When I should be saying “I love you E AND I really want you to obey Mommy.  Here are some truths I’m learning about this way of parenting:

1.  My love for my sons should not be conditional upon their obedience.  I remember asking my Mom one time decades ago what she would do if I or my brother killed someone.  She said I’d still love you, pray for you, and I’d turn you in.  Good job, Mom!  They should not have to work for my love or my snuggles.  The Bible is very clear on this in Romans 5.10

2.  Our children should learn how to have good behavior.  Not by bribing, not by rewarding, not be yelling – but just because that is what is expected of them as one of our children. I don’t want to raise two little Pharisees, I want to raise little boys who see their need for a Savior.  My Mister and I have been talking about this, especially now that our older one has gotten to a point where he completely understands what we are saying when we are trying to get him to obey.  A sweet friend who is years ahead of me in parenting told me that these early years are for your children to learn that the parents are the authority.  If they don’t learn that, they will have a harder time learning God’s authority.  And that is where we definitely want to point them.  One key Scripture is Ephesians 6:1-4

3.  The main point of the Gospel is not so we will be better Christians.  The Gospel is not there to tell us how to be good.  It is actually the opposite.  The Gospel tells us that we can’t be good and we can’t obey. The sin nature living in us makes us want to do our own things.  Only turning our lives over to Jesus and relying on the Holy Spirit to shape us and live through us will work.  Believing through faith is salvation.  That faith is given to us.  Out of a heart that has been changed will come right obedience.  See Romans 6-8 and Ephesians 2.

4.  We have to discipline, love and teach the Bible to our children through the eyes of the Gospel.  We can’t teach them Bible stories that will lead them to share better, be kind more, or obey.  We need to teach discipline, love, and teach them so they see Jesus in EVERYTHING.  We must be the ones who share the Gospel with our children.

After all, that is our biggest job as Christian parents.  Show the Gospel to our children.  And pray the Holy Spirit will turn their little hearts.


Media and Marriage

posted in: marriage | 0

Books.  Chick Flix.  Television.  Advertisements.  Blogs.  Magazines.

We are bombarded with media no matter if we have a cable subscription or not.  Checking out buying groceries we are enticed to look at half-dressed women screaming to us that “your husband would rather look at me than look at you or sleep with you.”  Or there are magazines that are telling us that are sex lives can not be fulfilling and satisfactory if we don’t do certain acts or if our bodies do not look as toned as the cover model.  We may feel insecure if we spent hours watching the swimmers and track runners/cyclists compete in the Olympics.  Does the thought cross you mind that you don’t measure up to someone who swims 5 hours a day and has never had children and doesn’t have to cook for 4 people with huge appetites?

Here are some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve been thinking through this issue the last few weeks, talking with friends, dialoguing with E:

1.  Media (in and of itself) is not the enemy.  I am not advocating that you hide yourself in a hole, never watch movies, never read books, never watch sports.  I don’t really know how to apply the verse in the Psalms that says “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” (Psalm 101.3)  I think there is an unspoken/unwritten emphasis on the word SET that allows for a permenance or continuance.  So, the psalmist isn’t saying you can’t watch television or ever see a movie or don’t read a book outside of the Bible, etc.  But, what you choose to put before your eyes on a daily, habitual basis should not be “worthless”.

2.  Prepare your mind and heart.  There are nights that I can’t watch certain movies.  We don’t have cable, but we choose to watch movies either from our personal collection or rent from Red Box or watch a DVD series (we are making our way through Cosby Show season 3 and NCIS season 1).  I know if I am thinking something in my mind or have struggled with a personal sin – I need not watch certain movies.  And, you need to prepare your mind for action as to how you are going to respond to what you are see or read.  As 1 Peter says: ” Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1:13-16)
3.  Watch out for the weaker brother.  If you are watching something that maybe is not a struggle for you, but you might think it is a temptation to lust for your husband, shut it off.  It is not worth you watching something if it is going to cause him to sin.  Talk about it.  Somethings may be a struggle to your husband that you may not know about.  Other visions may not bother him.  But, also, know your weak areas.  If you are struggling with how you look, wanting to lose weight or tone up, maybe watching the Olympians in their bathing suits with perfectly toned and tanned bodies isn’t such a great idea.  Comparison is never a good game to play.  You never win: it either leads to pride or to self-loathing.  Neither are a mindset that God desires for His daughters.  As Paul writes to the Philippians, ” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

I pray that this benefits you in how you watch movies, read books, participate in sports, or even go to the grocery store.  I dont’ know of any divorced couple that would say “we would have stayed together if we had just watched more television.”